More Than Just a Pay Raise

If you are like the majority of senior students at WCI then you likely have a part-time job or are at least on the market for one. And at that job you likely get paid minimum or student wage. And like 10% of Ontario workers you would have seen a 21% increase on your first paycheck of 2018, because as of January 1st, 2018 the minimum wage in Ontario has been raised to $14 an hour, with the student minimum wage increasing to $13.15 an hour.

The provincial government, currently controlled by the Ontario Liberal Party, included the increase in a massive change in the province’s labour laws, positioning the increase “as a measure to improve the livelihood of workers in Ontario.” “Our plan for fair workplaces and better jobs provides a minimum wage people can actually live on and modernizes our labour laws to adapt to an ever-changing economy,” said Kevin Flynn, Ontario’s Minister of Labour.

But this isn’t all good news for young workers. The increase means that employers have a greater fixed expense on their bottom line resulting in cuts elsewhere, such as employee benefits, or reduced hours. These cuts are making headlines in the case of some Tim Hortons franchises, which are cutting employee benefits and eliminating paid breaks as a result of the increase. The increase also results in some businesses shying away from hiring young inexperienced workers in favour of older more experienced full-time employees. Julie Kwiecinski, provincial director of Ontario for The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says, “Our members are saying, If I have to pay a student $14.10 an hour and spend a lot of time and effort training them, I might as well hire someone at $15 who are already experienced.”

The 2017 Bank of Canada Report estimates that nationwide 60,000 jobs will be lost as a result of minimum wage increases, stating that the increase poses “a significant negative effect on younger workers. This effect is strongest for those 15 to 19 years old.”