minimum wage in ontario

More than three quarters of a million people in Ontario might be getting a raise

With less than two months to go until Ontario's provincial election, Premier Doug Ford is breaking out all kinds of promises, and it was revealed on Tuesday that the PC government plans to raise the minimum wage if re-elected on June 2.

Ontario Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton announced Tuesday that the current 767,300 workers at or below the general minimum wage of $15 in the province (as of 2021) will be getting a wage hike of 50 cents per hour in October should the province vote for four more years of PC leadership, bringing the minimum wage to $15.50 per hour.

Students under 18 would make $14.60 per hour, rising from the current $14.10, while those who do paid work out of their own homes would earn $17.05 per hour, a raise from $16.50.

"For many Ontarians, wages haven't kept up with the increasing cost of living, making it harder than ever to make ends meet," said Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday. "Ontario's workers are the best anywhere, and they will be at the forefront of building the province. They deserve to have more money in their pockets and the increase we're announcing today is one more way we are delivering for our workers," continued the premier.

The Ontario government is basing their wage increase on the Consumer Price Index, claiming that "workers earning the general minimum wage and working 40 hours per week would see their annual pay rise by $1,768," while "liquor servers who work 40 hours per week would see an annual raise of $5,512."

It's a clear bid to win over votes in the upcoming election, but this is the same government that almost immediately killed a planned $15 minimum wage hike upon taking office in 2018.

Wages were only raised to the level they were already planned to reach this past January, two years into a pandemic that had a catastrophic effect on minimum wage employees.

But it looks like even if Ford loses, minimum wage workers will be getting a raise. In fact, they'll be getting an even bigger raise. The Ontario NDP Party is offering the most, stating that they would raise the minimum to $16 per hour on Oct. 1, 2022 if elected in June, and they aim to crank that number even higher to a whopping $20 by 2026.

The Liberals are also offering a raise for the masses, but they are promising a more gradual wage increase, with $16 per hour implemented by next year, as well as ten paid sick days. That's more than triple the three paid sick days currently offered by the Ford government, a lack of coverage that has faced harsh criticism during the pandemic.

And yet none of the parties have pledged to actually deliver a minimum wage in line with the cost of living in Toronto, where residents need to rake in over $22 per hour just to survive comfortably.

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