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On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that on Jan. 1, 2022, the province will increase minimum wage to $15 an hour, from $14.35.
"Ontario’s workers have been the unsung heroes of this pandemic, as they’ve stocked shelves, kept our supply chain moving and helped so many of us enjoy a meal among family and friends at a local restaurant," a statement from Ford reads.
"When we asked labour leaders what their priorities were, increasing the minimum wage was at the top of the list. As the cost of living continues to go up, our government is proud to be working for workers, putting more money into their pockets by increasing the minimum wage."
Living Wage Rates in Ontario:
Toronto = $22.08
Halton = $20.75
Peel = $19.80
Niagara = $18.90
Ottawa = $18.60
Hamilton = $17.20
Ontario new minimum wage on January 1st: $15
Ontario's minimum wage isn't a living wage...it's a starvation wage.
— Naheed Dosani (@NaheedD) November 2, 2021
It's staggering how the minimum wage keeps people in poverty instead of out of poverty.
— Ahmed Ali (@MrAhmednurAli) November 2, 2021
Since the announcement, some have been pointing to the difference between minimum wage and living wage, particularly in popular cities like Toronto.
The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) defines living wage as being reflective of "what people need to earn to cover the actual costs of living in their community," calculated based on needs of a family of four with two parents, each working full-time for the full year.
According to the OLWN, these are the living waged in key regions of Ontario:
Durham Region: $17.80
Haldimand Norfolk: $17.35
Hastings Prince Edward: $17.95
Leeds, Grenville, Lanark Counties: $18.25
Niagara Region: $18.90
Norththumberland County: $18.80
Perth and Huron: $17.95
Sault Ste. Marie: $16.20
Simcoe County: $19.05
Thunder Bay: $16.30
Waterloo Region: $17.20
This is how Ontario's minimum wage will compare to other provinces in Canada:
British Columbia: $15.20
New Brunswick: $11.75
Newfoundland & Labrador: $12.75
Nova Scotia $12.95
Prince Edward Island: $13.00
Some have also pointed out that this change comes after Ford initially scrapped the plan by the previous Liberal provincial government, under Kathleen Wynne, to have a $15 an hour minimum wage.
So let me get this straight. The Ontario government is increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour on January 1st, years after cancelling it in the first place & causing workers to lose $5,000...and it's still not a liveable wage?
— Dr. Amit Arya (@AmitAryaMD) November 2, 2021
I’m watching this presser and wondering if we’re supposed to be thankful that what was taken away is being given back?
Framing it as a gift from this government is…disingenuous.
— Pamela Libralesso 🇨🇦 (@Plibra123) November 2, 2021
Doug Ford is reinstating Kathleen Wynne’s minimum wage increase to $15. Making out like it’s his idea now. Might I remind everyone that Kathleen Wynne is a Liberal and this $15 would have been in affect 3 years ago, if Doug Ford hadn’t cancel it. #VoteFordOut2022
— Vicki Campbell 🇨🇦 (@merry123459) November 3, 2021
Some have also expressed that increases minimum at this time will caused increased struggle for some sectors, particularly restaurants, who have been hard-hit from the pandemic.