Ford proposes raising Ontario’s minimum wage to $15/hour

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is proposing an increase in the province’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, but opponents say it’s not enough.

The increase from the current $14.35 would take effect Jan. 1. Ford says workers have been the unsung heroes of the pandemic and says leaders have asked for the raise.

"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," Ford said in a news release.

However, Andrea Horwath, the official opposition leader in provincial parliament, criticized Ford for cancelling a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 in 2019, saying Ford "stole" $5,000 from minimum wage earners. Horwath now says the minimum wage should be $17 per hour.

"The price of everything is going up. The cost of gas is skyrocketing, rents are skyrocketing, the cost of food, auto insurance, everything is going up, up, up, and folks are falling futher behind because of Doug Ford’s low wage policies," Horwath said in a news conference.

The Ford government’s proposal would also end a current special minimum wage rate for liquor servers of $12.55 per hour plus tips. Ford says liquor servers have increasingly been losing money due to pooled tips.

The minimum hourly wage would be $14.10 for students under 18 and $16.50 for homeworkers. Hunting and fishing guides would have a new rate of $75.00 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day and $150.05 for working five or more hours in a day.