Province freezes scheduled minimum wage hike

Ontario PC leader Doug Ford speaks to a crowd at the Fogolar Furlan Club in Windsor, May 31, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

The Ontario Progressive Conservative government has followed through on Premier Doug Ford’s campaign promise to halt the increase in the province’s minimum wage scheduled for next year.

On Wednesday, Labour Minister Laurie Scott announced that the minimum wage will remain $14 an hour, and will not increase to $15 an hour in January 2019, which was planned by the previous Liberal government.

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) has previously stated that the move to freeze minimum wage will have a negative effect on 1.7-million workers.

In a tweet posted after Scott’s announcement, the OFL pointed out that no legislation has been passed yet.

“As stated in the law, $15 minimum wage is still scheduled to come in on January 1, 2019. No legislation has been introduced. $15 minimum wage is less than 14 weeks away,” the tweet read.

However, the announcement came as welcome news to a number of businesses according to Restaurants Canada, a national not-for-profit association that represents the country’s foodservice industry.

“This year’s sudden increase to the minimum wage caused unprecedented menu inflation and a reduction in hours for food service workers,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada vice president for Central Canada. “By keeping their commitment, the Ontario government is giving restaurants time to adjust.”

Restaurants Canada said food service menu prices across the province have risen by 6.6 per cent so far this year, to adjust to the minimum wage increase from $11.60 to $14 an hour that took place in January 2018.

“This is the largest menu price increase the province has experienced since the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax in 1991,” the association said in a news release.