Minimum wage increase to $15 per hour Jan. 1

·2 min read

TORONTO – After tying Ontario’s minimum wage to inflationary increases in 2018, Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday a reversal in that policy. On January 1, 2022, Ontario’s minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour.

Ford cited the efforts by frontline service workers in retail and food services during the pandemic, and pandemic-relates increases in cost of living, as the reasons for the November 2 reversal.

“When it mattered most, we were able to count on you,” Ford said. “Workers deserve to have more money in their pockets, because they earned it.”

The wage is currently $14.35 per hour. Wages for restaurant and liquor servers are $12.55 per hour. Students under 18 are paid $13.50 per hour.

While the minimum wage will increase by 65 cents on January 1, 2022, restaurant and liquor servers will see a larger increase.

Employees in that sector normally have a lower minimum wage because of possible increased earnings from tips. The province is eliminating the special wage for restaurant and liquor servers, placing them at wage parity with other minimum wage earners.

Ford said that equals a 19.5 per cent increase for workers in that sector when the minimum wage increases to $15 per hour.

“In many ways, take home pay has not increased with the cost of living,” said Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy. “Ontario workers should be in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom.”

Student minimum wage (under-18) will increase by 60 cents per hour to $13.50. Hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also see wage increases.

According to the province, there were over 750k workers at or below the minimum wage.

Unifor president Jerry Dias called the increase “a good start” but said that there is still work to do to get to a living wage.

“In order to get to a $22 hour living wage in Toronto, you have to go through $15,” he said. “A living wage in London, Ontario is about $16.20. So do I think that $15 an hour is wonderful, the answer is no.”

The government will have to table legislation for the increase this fall.

After taking office in 2018, Ford’s government cancelled a planned 25 cent per year for three year increase that would have brought the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021.

Ford denied to reporters during the announcement that the wage increase is related the upcoming Spring 2022 provincial election.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader

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