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Ontario chamber cautiously optimistic about minimum wage hike help

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne promising help for farmers and small business with the minimum wage hike.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne promising help for farmers and small business with the minimum wage hike. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah Yoon

News that Ontario is promising help for small business and farmers as the province transitions to a $15 an hour minimum wage is being greeted with cautious optimism by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says she has asked the minister for small business to work with the agriculture sector to ensure supports are put in place.

Ontario Chamber board member Richard Koroscil says he is hopeful after hearing the promise, but he wants to know exactly what help is on the way.

READ MORE: Ontario promises to help small businesses, farmers with $15 minimum wage

Koroscil says the Ontario Chamber doesn’t want to block the minimum wage hike but says “the pace of this should be slowed down. It should happen over a longer period of time to allow small business owners, including farmers, to cope.”

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He says “farmers will face extra costs in hiring staff, bringing in help during harvest time and planting.”

LISTEN: Richard Koroscil joins The Bill Kelly Show

Koroscil adds, “Farmers and other small business owners have a lot of questions about dealing with this big change.”

The Liberal government has said the increase would be phased in gradually and would rise with inflation, as scheduled, from $11.40 currently to $11.60 in October to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and $15 the following year.