September 13, 2017 8:21 am

Bill Kelly: Government watchdog slams minimum wage hike

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour is expected to be a major focus as Queen's Park resumes sitting.

Sean Kilpatrick / File / The Canadian Press

As the debate rages on about the Ontario government’s minimum wage hike policy, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) has a dire warning.

READ MORE: Ontario minimum wage hike will result in loss of 50K jobs: provincial watchdog

The FAO is not a partisan organization; they are an independent government agency that assesses government policy, and simply put, they don’t like this one.

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The FAO says that the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, on the government’s accelerated time frame, will likely cost the Ontario economy about 50,000 jobs.

That mirrors the concerns of numerous chambers of commerce and small business organizations which suggest that the added cost is going to force many businesses to reduce staff or close up shop altogether.

READ MORE: Ontario government tweaks labour reform bill, no changes to $15 minimum wage phase-in

It’s highly unlikely that the FAO report will deter the government from implementing the minimum wage hike, but it should make them reconsider the aggressive timeline for the policy.

And that’s been the message from small business right from the start; they aren’t opposed to raising the minimum wage, they say that the hike is too much too soon for small businesses with a very fragile bottom line.

The FAO report is an unbiased wake-up call to the government.

What they plan to do is the right thing to do, but how they plan to do it is the real problem.

Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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