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Split Decision

by Olivia Rutt and Chris Daponte

Raising Ontario’s minimum wage

Economic reality

The Ontario government is raising the minimum wage to $15. Workers rejoice; businesses despair. At least that’s the argument I hear over and over again.

In fact, it seems like it is the same argument every time a wage hike is announced - and yet the economy trudges on.

Minimum wage is currently $11.40 per hour and is hardly enough for people to live on. In Guelph-Wellington a person has to make $16.50/hr to meet their basic needs. Having a minimum wage increase to $15/hr is reflective of the economy we currently live in. It  will create more loyalty, increase productivity and increase consumer spending.

I don’t pretend to ignore that in some cases, small businesses may have to cut costs or employees - and teenagers and those just coming into the workforce will be the most affected by this increase.

But some may be surprised to hear there are currently more workers aged 25 to 54 working for minimum wage than a decade ago and nearly half of minimum wage employees work at companies with over 500 employees.

This is the economic reality in which we live.

One article I read quotes a small business owner in support of the increase as saying, “We have to stop taking advantage of low-wage workers as a means to keep our businesses afloat.”

Because having people who live in poverty or near to it drags the entire economy down.

– Olivia


VS.


More Wynne bad math

Last week’s announcement that the province plans to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2019 should be viewed much like the Liberals’ recent pledge to cut hydro rates. It sounds nice but, motivated solely by an impending election, it simply creates more financial problems down the road.

Of course it would be nice if the minimum wage in Ontario was higher than the current $11.40 per hour (already among the highest in Canada).

But despite Kathleen Wynne’s ridiculous claims that she wants to create “a fairer, more equal society” - her track record suggests otherwise - a 32% increase in just 18 months is going overboard.

Large corporations may be able to handle the increase with minimal impact, but talk to any small business owner and they’ll tell you this move will result in a massive hit to their bottom line.

Just a few of the results will be:

- layoffs (a business with 20 minimum wage employees would have to lay off five employees in order to keep costs similar under the $15 wage);

- fewer hires (companies looking to expand and/or create new positions may have to shelve those plans - or worse: take them to another province/country); and

- higher prices for consumers (increased costs for wages, plus the added financial requirement of providing more vacation time, will have to be made up somewhere).

All things considered, Wynne’s math just doesn’t add up (shocker).

– Chris

Vol 50 Issue 23

 
 

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