The minimum wage will increase Jan. 1 to $15 an hour from the current $14.35.
He also announced that the lower rate for liquor servers due to customer tips will also go up and match the new provincial minimum wage. Servers and bartenders minimum hourly wages will be harmonized at $15, up from the current $12.55.
“Liquor servers have previously received below the general minimum wage, based on the belief customer tipping can make up the difference,” the government said in a news release Tuesday. “However, many of these workers have increasingly seen their tips pooled and redistributed among many staff, making it harder for them to make ends meet.”
Ford said a full-time minimum wage worker will see a raise of $1,350 a year and will affect more than 760,000 Ontarians.
“For many Ontarians wages haven’t kept up with the increasing cost of living making it harder than ever to make ends meet,” Ford said. “The least the government can do is ensure we’re making life more affordable for them by putting real dollars in their pocket.”
In addition, students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours or fewer during the school year or in the summer will see an increase from $13.50 to $14.10 an hour.
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Homeworkers, who do paid work out of their homes for their employer, would see an increase from $15.80 an hour to $16.50 an hour.
As well, hunting and fishing guides have a minimum rate of $71.75 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day and $143.55 for working five or more hours in a day. The new rate would see a rise to $75 and $150.05, respectively.
Alongside Ford at the Tuesday morning announcement was Unifor president Jerry Dias who has often been against the PC government and has said they are not doing enough for workers.
Dias also noted when it comes to a living wage that it varies from $16.20 an hour in London, Ont. to $22 an hour in Toronto which is much higher than the minimum wage coming into effect in January.
“So do I think $15 is wonderful? The answer is no,” said Dias. “But do I think its a good start? The answer is yes.”
“Look, has this government done things that have raised my ire? The answer is yes. Do we still continue to debate over some policy initiatives they’ve implemented that I totally disagree with? The answer is yes,” Dias continued. “But the bottom line is I am here today, understanding that we’re having a discussion on minimum wage, recognizing that it’s a good start.”
Previously, Ford cancelled the planned hike for 2019 to $15 an hour when the Progressive Conservatives took power from the Liberals in October of 2018.
On Jan. 1, 2018, Ontario’s minimum wage increased to $14 an hour from $11.60. The previous Liberal government had planned yet another increase to $15, but the PCs halted that move, citing complaints from businesses over what would have amounted to a more than 20 per cent jump from $11.60 to $15.
Both the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the announcement comes at a terrible time.
“Many businesses are still grappling with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, including cashflow constraints and the increased cost of doing business,” the chamber’s president and CEO Rocco Rossi said in a statement.
“This is no time to add to their costs.”
— with files from Global News’ Matthew Bingley & The Canadian Press