Ontario government may provide public sectors with more minimum wage help: Wynne

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the National Assembly in Quebec City, Thursday, September 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Francis Vachon

BARRIE, Ont. – Ontario’s Liberal government has put millions of dollars toward helping licensed child-care centres and developmental services cope with a minimum wage increase, and the premier says help for other such publicly funded sectors may be on the way.

The minimum wage rose on Jan. 1 to $14 an hour from $11.60.

READ MORE: Ontario coffee franchise continues to pay above minimum wage, despite province-wide hike

The government is giving licensed child cares $12.7 million so they don’t have to pass the increased costs onto parents – though some are reportedly doing that anyway.

It is also putting an extra $24.3 million into the community and developmental services sector, saying it recognizes the wage increase may impact their operating expenses.

READ MORE: Labour minister brushes off ‘doom and gloom’ minimum wage predictions

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Premier Kathleen Wynne says she is looking across government at other sectors that receive public funding to see if more needs to be done.

Meanwhile, Wynne has spoken out about small businesses – in particular a pair of Tim Hortons franchisees – that are dealing with the costs by reducing employee benefits, calling it “bullying.”

READ MORE: Ontario labour minister visits Toronto coffee shop amid simmering Tim Hortons wage debate

She says her government lowered the small business tax rate to 3.5 per cent from 4.5 per cent, along with providing some other supports, and notes there are thousands of businesses across the province that have figured out how to pay the new minimum wage.

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