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Liberals introduce bill to tie minimum wage to inflation

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The Ministry of Justice is providing the Regina Police with $100,000 and the Victim’s Fund with $100,000. Denis Beaumont / The Canadian Press Images

TORONTO – Ontario’s governing Liberals introduced legislation today that would tie minimum wage increases to the rate of provincial inflation.

Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi says it would take the politics out of the debate on minimum wage and provide predictability for businesses.

The government has already said it will increase minimum wage to $11 an hour on June 1 from $10.25.

But the proposed legislation – which would require the support of at least one of the opposition parties – would tie all future hikes to the consumer price index.

The new minimum wage would also be announced April 1 each year and take effect Oct. 1, giving businesses a six-month advance warning.

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The NDP put forward a similar plan today, saying they would increase minimum wage by 50 cents a year until it reaches $12 in 2016 before tying it to inflation.

They say they’d also cut the small business tax rate to four per cent from 4.5 per cent in June, then down to 3.5 per cent in 2015 and three per cent in 2016.

Naqvi accused the NDP of playing politics.

“We want to move setting the rate beyond cynical whims,” he said.

Naqvi said the legislation would amend the law to change the way minimum wage is determined, but cabinet still has the authority to change it by regulation.

“I think it’s very important that we do change the law, that we do bring the fairness and predictability … that Ontarians have been asking for,” he said.