Minimum wage and jobs increase together
When the Liberal government announced that Ontario’s minimum wage would jump to $15, there were fears that minimum wage earners would lose jobs.
The Bank of Canada estimated that between 30,000 and 140,000 fewer jobs would be created.
Fast forward ten months, and Ontario has seen its lowest unemployment rate in almost two decades.
60,000 jobs were added in July alone.
“There’s almost no evidence, very little evidence, that the minimum wage increase has had a negative impact on employment,” said economic professor John-Paul Lam.
For Stephanie Jenner, a mother and minimum wage earner, the extra money has allowed a greater quality of life.
“When lower wage earners make money, we spend it,” she said.
Jenner was able to enroll her daughter in piano lessons thanks to the pay bump, and hasn’t been so worried about her grocery bills.
A Kitchener grocer has gone a step further, working to pay staff a living wage of $17 per hour.
“It didn’t throw our whole budget out of whack, we were able to absorb and manage it,” said Sam Nabi, co-owner at Full Circle Foods in downtown Kitchener.
Whether the numbers are linked by causation or correlation is unknown, but the effects of the minimum wage increase were minimal.
Minimum wage increased to $14.25 on Jan. 1 this year, and was scheduled to rise again to $15 on Jan. 1 next year.