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2014-06-01 at 6:00 PM

Minimum wage up

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Do you want to BREAK YOUR BANK? Banks put holds on your cheque for up to 5 days. Why wait? For a better, quicker option visit XTRA CASH! Two locations Click here for full details.

THUNDER BAY – The Liberal candidate for Thunder Bay-Superior North says his party is the one that delivers for minimum wage workers.

Michael Gravelle says raising the Ontario minimum wage to $11 per hour, which took effect across the province on Sunday, is the latest example of the party’s commitment to ensuring workers receive a competitive rate.

“We are the government that brought it up from $6.85 an hour up now to $11 an hour,” Gravelle said. “I think that reflects the reality for people that working minimum wage, they need to see an increase.”

The increase places Ontario as the province with the highest minimum wage in Canada, equal only to Nunavut.

Thunder Bay-Atikokan Progressive Conservative candidate Harold Wilson is concerned about the spin-off effects of the increase.

With employers spending more on the rate of pay for staff, many might look at slashing hours or increasing costs to mitigate the financial hit.

If the price of goods and services go up as a result then the workers are right back where they started.

“For small businesses it hits them pretty hard,” Wilson said of wage increases.

“They’re already doing calculations of how much they’re going to have to add to restaurant meals or some of the services they have because wages are a pretty big part of their operations. It doesn’t take much to add to that bottom line.”

It can only get more problematic if employers respond by reducing hours as many workers will have to start looking for multiple jobs to supplement their income.

That might mean lack of benefits and ultimately spending less time with families as they balance so many different commitments.

Wilson instead says government needs to be focused on creating more valuable jobs that are sustainable to reduce the number of people who rely on minimum wage work.

For more than a year advocates across the province have been pushing to hike the rate up to $14 per hour, saying that anything less puts workers below the poverty line.

Thunder Bay-Superior North NDP candidate Andrew Foulds says the Liberals have fallen behind the cost of living for minimum wage workers and the first increase in four years is only as a result of pressure from opposition groups.

While $11 per hour is a good start, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done.

“We often forget about the working poor and I talk to people across this riding I hear from people who are working two or three part-time jobs at minimum wage,” Foulds said.

“Some of these folks are working 40, 60, 80 hours to make ends meet. They are working hard and I think it is only fair and reasonable that their purchasing power stays the same so they can try to make ends meet.”

Foulds says his party has the most aggressive and comprehensive approach to benefit minimum wage workers.

The NDP platform outlines a two-year plan that would see the rate rise to $12 per hour that Foulds says will make up for where the Liberals have fallen behind.

They also plan to cut the small business tax rate to balance out the additional costs and allow them to continue to hire.

In addition, the NDP also has plans to enhance school nutrition programs and provide dental assistance to assist families in need.

The Liberals had introduced legislation to Queen’s Park that would have indexed the rate to future inflation as well as the cost of living. The dissolution of the legislature leaves that piece currently in limbo.

Nova Scotia and Yukon are currently the only two jurisdictions in Canada that have indexed their minimum wage.

Gravelle says the Liberals will carry on where they left off with getting the minimum wage rate indexed if they return to power.

He adds it was a disappointment the component became a temporary political casualty of the PCs and NDP deciding to trigger an election.

“The job for us was to find the right balance and recognizing what a priority it was to increase the minimum wage and we’re pleased about that and I’m certainly hopeful that if we are in a position to be back in government after June 12 we will be moving forward on the legislation to have future increases tied to the inflation rate of the province,” Gravelle said.

Foulds agrees that the minimum wage needs to be tied to an index so that way the rate can stay in step with economic conditions.

Wilson is in favour of exploring ways to make future increases more predictable for business owners and not subject to political influences of the day.

In addition to the main adult rate, the student minimum wage is being increased to $10.30 per hour, and the minimum wage for liquor servers will see a jump to $9.55 per hour.

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Comments

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nvjgu says:
WSIB just love's the min wage going up.
6/1/2014 7:31:27 PM
Shane Caker says:
Why not just go on welfare? It pays just about the same.
6/1/2014 8:10:03 PM
smartguy83 says:
Because if you want to better your life and make a future for yourself welfare is not the answer. Work, build a resume, search around and maybe you can move up the ladder.

Sounds like what myself and 60-70% of the population did to start their career.
6/2/2014 9:41:54 AM
Duncan Debunker says:
Good thing sarcasm is not lost on this one!
6/2/2014 10:22:41 AM
RAM501 says:
I think we need a sarcasm sign.
6/2/2014 11:18:34 AM
eventscentre says:
Well we can see what you did rather than work. What should we do, set the minimum wage at 30 dollars and hour? If you'd ever taken an economics course you would know what this would do to the economy. I once had a minimum wage job and loved it. The job introduced me to the working world and everything has worked out well since then. I suppose I'm wasting my time trying to explain this to you as my taxes have paid for your computer
6/2/2014 9:57:24 AM
Duncan Debunker says:
Welfare pays 535$ per month. That is max for a single person. I'll be conservative and say the average person works 30 hours a week. That's a wage of $4.45/h.

If you had done this simple calculation you might have saved yourself the embarrassment.
6/2/2014 10:20:19 AM
bkr9812 says:
I remember working for $6.85 an hour. You had to manage your money effectively. You had to make decisions as to what was necessity and what was a luxury. Booze, smokes, weed, home internet access and cellphones are NOT necessities. And neither is havig another kid or two when you're working for minimum wage. Too many these days feel they're entitled to everything.

6/1/2014 8:20:46 PM
Jack Frost says:
The Ontario minimum wage of $11. per hour is still well below the poverty line in Canada.

A minimum wage increase to $15.-$16. today is more in line with Canada's high cost of living with wage increases of 2-4% every couple of years.

I would like to see these shameless arrogant politicians live on a minimum wage of only $11. per hour...

Canadian low income workers deserve better !!
6/1/2014 11:18:51 PM
rob20 says:
Learn some basic economics before you talk about something. Increasing minimum wage will not raise the level of living because small business will cut hours and cut jobs to maintain their profit levels... why? Because their own profits are small. There will be fewer employed. To generate employment and higher levels of living you cut expenses - taxes, gas, hydro, water, etc which never happens anymore. A 5% bump in pay does nothing if your expenses go up 10% over 2-3 years. Someone posted this on Tamara Johnson's page and its spot on correct regarding minimum wage increase.



And FYI minimum wage jobs are not designed to sustain a good level of living, they are entry points into the workforce. A highschool kid flipping burgers or serving coffee should not be making only a couple dollars less than a professional with a University/College degree.
6/2/2014 9:28:09 AM
Ibrando says:
Really Jack Frost?
Minimum Wage should never become suitable to raise a family. Like welfare it should be only until you get on your feet. Whatever happened to getting a good education, employment then starting a family? Oh, right, the lefties. People should stop looking for the government to legislate a decent living and get off their rear ends and better their situation in life.
6/2/2014 9:58:27 AM
Duncan Debunker says:
If that is case and minimum wage is not meant to be suitable to raise a family, then why are employers allowed to pay parents minimum wage indefinitely? Your logic is flawed on it's basic principle.
6/2/2014 10:25:44 AM
livewire says:
Just another way for the Government get more money from TAXES.
6/2/2014 5:58:30 AM
finnboy says:
I own a small business and have employees The increase of the minimum wage to $11.00 an hour will affect me and my business. I feel that if the minimum wage does go up to $14.00 an hour it will kill many small mom and pop businesses. The activist are calling for an increase to $14 an hour Think twice please I used to feel that way until I bought a business. Wear the shoes of a business owner for a day and I feel you would be thinking twice about the drastic increase
6/2/2014 6:47:25 AM
smartguy83 says:
Totally spot on.

Minimum wage is a dangerous thing.

It may close the "gap" between poverty and rich by a small margin but at the end of the day it leads to inflation or else small businesses suffer.

This is the main reason why raising min wage took so long.
6/2/2014 9:43:48 AM
Enquirer says:
Hit the nail on the head! Spot on! Whatever other saying the multiple account users are using to agree with themselves!!111oneoneone

Back in my day, we worked for 2 bits a day; and you were thankful for it!!! Minimum wage is a very dangerous thing and let's face it, is totally equivalent to fascism.

I cannot think of one company out there that would take advantage of workers if minimum wage laws did not exist. It's simply poppycock! It's not like these companies would reward share holders, CEOs, and invest in other countries with lax labour/environmental laws before rewarding that hard working person!!!!

The picture is quite clear; working very hard at a giant retail store for under a dollar a day simply would attract the attention of the CEO. They tend to have quite the ear for the sound of bootstraps being pulled up. After grinding away, there is absolutely ZERO reason why you could not command a high wage.

Failing that, simple solution: don't be poor! Simple as that!

/sarcasm
6/2/2014 5:09:36 PM
jonthunder says:
I would like to see Gravelle and Wilson live on $11 a hour or less; and perhaps even have to raise a child or two. Government deficits and debts help keep the minimum wage low, and constrain and reduce the social safety net. How much are people who create that economy worth per hour?
6/2/2014 6:53:48 AM
Ibrando says:
Jonthunder,
Social Safety Net? Unfortunately for most it is the Social Hammock. Why make it comfortable?
6/2/2014 10:04:12 AM
betterbob says:
Great, I can't wait for the prices of everything else to rise so that those of us who don't get a raise suffer.
6/2/2014 7:53:08 AM
Seriously?? says:
When I graduated from college 14 years ago (straddled with about $28000 in debt), I was working for 14.00/hour which was 5 dollars more per hour than minimum wage at the time (about 50% more than min wage). This wage increased marginally over the next seven years to 19.00/hour until I got a new job with my professional degree.

Are there fresh college grads out there? How much are you making at entry level? Just curious if it is still worth 50% more than having no education. If college grads are making 17.00 out the door, then I am okay with that increase. If grads are still making 14.00 an hour out the gate with very little forward movement, then I have a problem as that indicates the increase is actually eroding the middle class by propping up the low class (no one making min wage is "middle class")
6/2/2014 3:41:28 PM
crypto says:
Something doesn't seem right with the math in your post (assuming you lived in Ontario since graduating)...

Min wage was 6.85/hour from 1995 in Ontario through to Feb 2004 where it was raised to 7.15/hour.

Aka... 14.00/hour would be about 2.04x the min wage amount. So comparatively we're looking at $22/hour and change at today's rate. So even your $17/hour entry level job is lower than the $22/hour equivalent you were making when you graduated.

A big issue right now with fresh college/university grads is they're unable to get a job in their field. As a result they find temporary work to make ends meet, and some of those are lucky enough to find a min-wage job while they continue to search for their 'dream job'. By the way, I don't mean anything fancy by the term "dream job"... that dream today is just an entry level job in the field they spent 3 - 5 years studying for.
6/2/2014 7:29:36 PM
barryhorowitz says:
@Shane Caker, its called pride and self worth to decide to work rather than to choose to go on welfare. Maybe if we had more pride in ourselves, the country wouldn't be in such financial difficulty.
6/2/2014 9:09:50 AM
Duncan Debunker says:
Maybe you're right. And maybe if we had leaders who served their constituents rather than themselves, we might have a more effective government...
6/2/2014 8:15:36 PM
djs says:
When small business owners say that they can't function if they have to pay their workers $11.00 an hour, I question what they themselves make in salaries. These people making $11.00/hour probably do not get benefits like dental coverage. They do not get sick days, and many work 2 or 3 part time jobs because they can't find full time work. If a business can't survive without paying its workers a decent wage, then maybe it wasn't meant to survive. Of course, then the owner might end up being the worker who is struggling to survive on $11.00/hr...so when you talk about raising prices or cutting back on staff, keep in mind, that the customer can always go elsewhere. It is time to treat all workers as human beings, not as slaves.
6/2/2014 9:38:29 AM
rob20 says:
Spoken like someone who does own a small business nor has ever run one. How much do you think small business owners make? The majority are not raking in huge take-homes for themselves.
6/2/2014 1:06:54 PM
Luxe says:
$18,000. There you go. I'm below the poverty line. If it wasn't for my husbands job, we would be.
6/2/2014 4:37:51 PM
pc says:
Let me get this straight.
You want to see Wilson and Gravelle live on the amount of minimum wage earners. Did I get that part right?
But you mock Hudak because he worked a Walmart. Did I get that part right?
I think Walmart hires at minimum wage, so he has lived the life and progressed.
So could you explain to me why the double standard?
6/2/2014 10:07:50 AM
tiredofit says:
Hudak worked at Walmart, well this may explain his math skills. Every Economist worth his weight in salt has clearly stated that based on all the PROPER CALCULATIONS, the so called "million jobs" is in fact only about 1/4 of that (ie: 250,000 at best). Now, factor in he's laying off 100,000, it's now down to 150,000. So with 100,000 good paying jobs out of the market, or about 980+ per riding, that should have a nice negative impact on the food chain, thus allowing for more layoffs.

This guy will make his corporate buddies rich and wipe out the middle class in the process. Remember now, the bulk of those 100,000 jobs he'll cut will be from front line staff making about $35-75k a year (the middle class).

Its a known fact that large corporations rarely increase hiring to match the offset in reduced corporate taxes, they prefer to increase the bottom line. Let's not also forget the services he'll download onto the cities and towns (= hire property taxes!). Great deal with get there PC
6/2/2014 8:59:06 PM
youngintbay says:
you want a wage increase. go to school get and education. Just like everyone else that is making over $20/hr. What about all those people that are locked in at a certain wage till there next contract? Yeah So minimum wage goes up and for sure everything else will and those people locked in at a rate has to suffer until there next contract. Whats next minimum wage people get pensions. Unbelievable.
6/2/2014 10:23:23 AM
Clobbering Time says:
I have worked hard for my $ and have had some help along the way. I have put in 5 years of college and have worked since I was 17 with the same job for the last 12 years. I have very nice possessions because of hard work and investments and dont think the minimum wage should be hired because people have to learn how to work and be smart with their finances.
6/2/2014 10:39:58 AM
Clobbering Time says:
Now because min wage is going up, everything else will be so when all is settled, it would have been better for minimum wage employees to have been kept at their initial wage for the betterment of all
6/2/2014 10:49:24 AM
jonthunder says:
Sound statistics clearly show that in Canada and other so called developed countries the vast majority of the wealth is held by but a few % of the people; the middle class are increasingly struggling to make ends meet; and those making the minimum wage and their families, including their children live below the poverty level. Would more sharing from the elite not make our society healthier and better? It sounds like those being squeezed in the middle allow the elite to keep their treasures and want to further put down the poor; just to have someone more needy than themselves - when in fact those families, children and elderly live in dire straights. $11 an hour is not for Mr. Gravelle to be proud of; he should be ashamed.
6/2/2014 11:29:21 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
I own a small business and wanted to hire a couple of entry level people to do some work with some skill. I have set a standard that my clients expect. But now it's not going to happen. I'll just have to keep doing the job with my wife. I was hoping to pass the work on to another person but there is no profit in it for us. As the minimum wage goes higher it just makes it worse. Too bad. On the other hand. For the people that can afford the increase, I'm expecting better service. If you are paying more for that employee, I'm expecting them to know stuff about the products they sell. That waitress that doesn't know the daily specials or screws up my order. No tip for you if you can't do the basic job!
6/2/2014 11:45:33 AM
Tapak says:
Umm wait staff wage in Ontario is way below minimum wage. It's $8.90 per hour because tips are expected to supplement wage. People like you justify not bothering to leave a couple extra bucks in weird ways.

I have owned small businesses for many many years, different types of business too. I am not scared of raising minimum wage. My daughters earned minimum wage. I want happy employees. I work very hard to make sure. Y employees are happy. It's part of why I own business and not do another job. I am successful and would not be in it if I didn't make a good living, to boot.

After over 30 years doing this I would not say raising minimum wage would be a bad thing. If I am honest GOOD business owners can make it work.

6/2/2014 1:49:03 PM
bttnk says:
I am okay with minimum wage increases if small business tax is lowered to off-set the increase. If not, the increase is pure posturing by the elected party as it has almost no impact to people who are trying to live off minimum wage.

I would rather see education and training more accessibile and with more lucrative tax breaks then simply raising minimum wage. Give people the opportunity for career development and many will take it.

6/2/2014 12:14:24 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
Minimum wage goes up;
working hours slashed because its too costly to pay people to sit on their arse's;
price of your every day commodities go up;
people start to whine about not being paid enough and cost of living etc etc;
rinse and repeat with the upping of minimum wage.

Good plan. It's a black hole of dumb.
6/2/2014 12:32:28 PM
Harold says:
Many people say to go out and get education and normally that how it should work, NOT in this city. There and numerous university graduates who cant find a job because of nepotism. Just look to the school board, the city division of employment, Bombardier, Regional Hospital just to name a few. And because you have alot of education on your resume, its hard to get hired at a normal job. So, what is a guy or girl to do???
6/2/2014 12:38:03 PM
bttnk says:
I disagree Harold. Those days are disappearing in Thunder Bay. In the mean time, people may have to consider relocating for employment like people and families have been doing for centuries
6/2/2014 2:31:58 PM
crypto says:
I partially disagree with you. The bigger problem I'm seeing is new graduates trying to find work (that goes for both Thunder Bay and elsewhere).

I was able to find a job when I moved back to Thunder Bay without too much effort because I now have several years of experience in my field.

The trouble I'm seeing with my friends is they are recent graduates and no matter how many jobs they apply for they are seemingly filtered out without any communication whatsoever. These are resumes and cover letters crafted specifically for the companies/organizations being applied for and they have worked throughout university to help pay for tuition.

It seems like finding work for a new graduate these days is a full time job which offers next to nothing in return (unless you're lucky enough to hear back from whichever place you applied to).
6/2/2014 4:16:57 PM
bttnk says:
I have to disagree crypto. Yes, some new graduates are having trouble finding work, but these are typically people that either aren't willing to relocate, or weren't focused or given good guidance during their University education. Those of us who worked internships (sometimes unpaid) or were in a co-op program that had us working in the "real world" every other semester are employed and earning a good salary. When you are one of so many, what are you going to do to separate yourself from the others? Wait tables because the pay is good? Or take an unpaid internship because you want the practical experience? Too many make the wrong choice.
6/2/2014 8:47:39 PM
bkr9812 says:
I disagree as well. It's really not that difficult to find a job here. I've seen many do it with ease..and not because of who they knew. They might not be the most appealing jobs, but they are out there. I've spoken to many recent grads who simply refuse to accept that they need to start at the bottom. Yep, you might have to start at $15 or less an hour, sorry. I did, and many others. You work your way through school, then you work your way up. "Oh, but I spent x number of years in school and am qualified for so much more." Again, that sense of entitlement.

And now that minimum wage is $11/hr, that $15 is going to sound even less appealing.
6/2/2014 8:25:54 PM
faster says:
rob20 said it well and hit the nail right on the head. As a small business owner I cant afford the increase and find myself taking more hours and cutting staff hours and must also increase the already small profit margin to pay those wages as well the never ending increase in utilities and taxes. Small business owners that are independent or family owned do not make much on gas, smokes and lottery and we do all the work for these corporations. The SHELL's and ESSO's and Mac's get bulk buying prices on all products and can give a little. Min wage was never again meant to raise a family or live on, it was to supplement, get a good education as it is free for the most part until College or University (and many countries wish they had our type of education) and get a trade and good paying job.
6/2/2014 12:53:41 PM
Harold says:
Its easy to say get education, in this city its ALL about who you know, rather than how much you know
6/2/2014 1:00:45 PM
pc says:
It is no longer a case of being able to stay in your home town. You must move to the jobs.
The way things are going in this province jobs are moving out so people who want jobs are going to have to move to the jobs.
It is the same attitude in almost any small town or large city. Who you know or who your parents know.
So move and make a name of your own with your own work and work ethic.
6/2/2014 6:02:10 PM
Archer says:
I recently heard that Switzerland is the country with the highest minimum wage. It is set at $22 and change. The cost of a Big Mac meal is over $17 in that country. It appears to me that everything is relative so in Ontario you may see the day to day costs go up due to increased business costs and the fact that items have become more attainable. I would expect that if we raised our minimum wage to $22 we too would see the cost of a meal increase accordingly. Should other wages go up to cover increased cost? I don't see why not. Careful! Its a slippery slope!!
6/2/2014 1:07:29 PM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
So, why does the cost rise in a company that doesn't hire minimum wage or union workers? Is it still the fault of those workers and welfare people too? Arm chair economists please respond.
6/2/2014 1:20:54 PM
Harold says:
For all the people who think this is a good idea, I expect NO complaining from you when the price of everything goes up in the near future
6/2/2014 1:33:55 PM
tsb says:
I don't know any small businesses that are increasing prices as a result of the minimum wage increase. Mostly it's due to inflation. In some cases a price increase was simply put off for so long, they're taking the opportunity to sneak it in now while everyone is "expecting" it. A lot of small businesses don't pay their employees minimum wage. Of the 17 coworkers I have, only two are earning minimum wage, because they were recently hired.
6/2/2014 2:05:18 PM
Kelli says:
When you think that you are not being paid a decent wage, ask yourself what a boy or a girl makes per hour making shoes in a 3rd world country. People here are spoiled
6/2/2014 2:07:32 PM
Kelli says:
The exact same people who are supporting a minimum wage increase will the first who are complaining about prices going up.
6/2/2014 2:09:41 PM
tsb says:
Well, some of us have jobs that require figuring out the cost of goods and services and setting price points and know that in many cases, wages are a fairly small piece of the pie and a 7% increase in the cost of one "ingredient" for the first time in over four years is virtually identical to the 0.5% increases common for every single quarterly order for the other "ingredients" that go into making virtually anything.

Hell, labour has cost the same since 2010. It would be great if the cost of plastic pellets and nuts and bolts did the same!
6/2/2014 4:11:41 PM
Duncan Debunker says:
^...I applaud the accuracy and originality of this comment.
6/2/2014 8:19:23 PM
gremlin says:
Harold:

Bang on. Due to so many of the good paying jobs being "unionized government jobs" (all levels) it's about WHO YOU KNOW. Education & work ethic has little to do with it.
6/2/2014 2:33:37 PM
jonthunder says:
Some folks seem to have a hard time getting their heads around the fact that prices increase a lot more often and by amount than minimum wage increases; and the poor, and yes even the middle class fall even further behind. And the degree of heterogeneity between the middle class and poor becomes even blurred as they become more like hungry dogs fighting over the same scraps of meat.
6/2/2014 3:00:34 PM
dynamiter says:
The truth -
The evidence, however, is clear: Raising the minimum wage does not have the harmful effects that critics claim.
A significant body of academic research finds that raising the minimum wage does not result in job losses, even during periods when the unemployment rate is high. Critics of the minimum wage, however, often hold on to the claim that raising the minimum wage will lead to job losses and ultimately hurt the overall economy, exacerbating the problem of high unemployment. The argument that raising the minimum wage will increase unemployment is somewhat far-fetched, since the minimum wage impacts a relatively small share of the overall workforce, which is itself concentrated in certain industries such as restaurants and demographic groups such as teenagers.
Nevertheless, we analyzed more than two decades’ worth of minimum-wage increases in U.S. states and found no clear evidence that the minimum wage impacts aggregate job creation during periods of high unemployment.
6/2/2014 7:25:36 PM
Murphy says:
In an ideal world..Min wage jobs should be left for students.
I don't understand how it's ok for a business that doesn't give back to anyone is allowed to take in the cash and the workers get squat. This is such a Hudak plan, fortunately for all hard working govmt, union,(teachers nurses) trades or any normal hard workers he can't do simple math so unless he is counting the ballots he shouldn't be enforcing his brainwave ideas.
It is really tiring hearing the same argument blame the govmt workers/unions...
Job creation should be more teachers, more EAs, more nurses, take back what Harris made us give up with schools, hospitals, govmt, agencies hwy maint, const, bring back the employees quit paying 3x as much for work that can be done for less.
You complain about govmt "bureaucracy" and spending but you probably voted for Harris which made us spend more.
Min wage should be more for students and govmt needs to help educate!
Trades/nursing/teachers/engineers/tech
6/2/2014 9:45:02 PM
S Duncan says:
its nuttin but plain, ol fashioned vote buying.

that's all it is and up here theres less business people than they is minimum wage people so they really love it here. It tricks the feeble and weak people into thinking that government did them a favour when in reality all it did was make jobs harder to get, drive up prices, and make us less competitive in markets that can do more for far less money.

Ontario was once the economic engine of Canada. Since the liberals got in the drivers seat, its kicked out 2 rods, ruined a cylinder head, and windowed the block and pan. Now we are skating along in our own oil slick waiting to hit the wall. The PCs will pull the chute while the libs will keep their foot in it and still think they won when we are upside down getting cut out of the car.

6/2/2014 11:55:06 PM
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