Minimum wage hike in Ontario hard for business to absorb
In the month following the minimum wage increase, Ontario has lost 59,300 part time jobs, according to Statistics Canada. The total job loss for full and part time employment in December 2017, was 50,000.
Jeff Short, a business professor at Humber College said “it would seem to be related’ that in an election year it is not uncommon for the current party in power to go into an election with a statement of “Look what we did.”
Short suspects the minimum wage increase is that statement for the Ontario Liberals.
With a provincial election looming this summer, an increase in the minimum wage can only be seen as one thing, an election ploy and a last ditch effort for the Liberals in Ontario to win over voters., according to the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.
“Kathleen Wynne’s only objective with her minimum wage hike was to hold onto power and as a result things are getting worse,” Ontario Conservative Monte McNaughton said in a prepared statement on the Progressive Conservative website.
The minimum wage in Ontario jumped 21 per cent in one year, whereas in the previous five years it had only seen an increase of about one per cent per year. With another increase to come Jan. 1, 2019 where the wage will go from $14 to $15.
“There’s just no time for the market to adjust and absorb those extra costs,” Short said.
Small businesses will feel this the most, he said. Short warns while this may mean job loses for this will likely push business’s to automate more quickly.
He said in recent years retailers and restaurants installed touch screens for ordering and most big stores, such as WalMart, have self check outs. This wage increase may expedite these automated trends, he said.
Short said making the higher minimum wage is a good thing for students but it could make more difficult to find a job.
“No one who owns a small business is worried about paying workers $14 an hour. It’s how fast it was implemented,” Short said.