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Ontario promises 50-cent minimum wage increase in October


The Ontario Progressive Conservative government has said they will raise the minimum wage by another 50 cents after the provincial election.

Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, saying the wage increase would go into effect in early fall.

This would bring Ontario's minimum wage to $15.50 an hour on Oct. 1.

In January, the minimum wage was increased from an hourly rate of $14.35 an hour to $15 an hour. The same wage was set for liquor servers and app-based platform gig workers.

McNaughton said the increase will help workers keep up with rising costs amid inflation.

"This eight per cent increase in one year will help workers keep up with rising inflation. It's one more way we are fighting for everyday people and delivering real positive change for over 700,000 workers," he said.

The Progressive Conservatives say the planned raise in the minimum wage is tied to the Consumer Price Index and will continue to increase every fall based on inflation in Ontario—something the government is legislated to do.

Officials say that employees being paid minimum wage, working 40 hours a week, will see their pay rise by $1,768.

The last time the minimum wage was increased was in October 2021, when the pay rate was increased from $14.25 to 14.35.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford originally scrapped a $15 minimum wage in 2018 after being elected into office. He argued at the time that it would be too expensive for businesses, opting to instead raise it by 35 cents.

When he announced the nearly $1 pay increase in November 2021, the premier cited the pandemic as the main reason why the wage freeze would come to an end.

“Things were a lot different back in 2018," he told reporters.

Affordability has already proven to be a key election issue, with nearly all political parties promising to increase the minimum wage if they take office.

The Ontario Liberals are promising $16 an hour by 2023, along with 10 paid sick days if they win in June. The NDP has also promised a $16 minimum wage as of Oct. 1, but has said they would slowly increase that to $20 by 2026.

According to a 2021 report by the Ontario Living Wage Network, people living in Toronto need to make at least $22.08 an hour to afford basic items such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, child care and medical care, among other necessities. The lowest living wage indicated in the report was $16.20 in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Ontario election is slated for June 2. Top Stories

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