An Ontario Progressive Conservative government would delay the $15-an-hour minimum wage until the year 2022.
The Kathleen Wynne government is raising the minimum wage to $14 an hour as of Jan. 1, and plans to increase it to $15 an hour in 2019.
The move has been well received by anti-poverty and labour groups, but business of all sizes have said the rapid increase in employee costs will lead to price hikes and job cuts.
The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario has warned that 50,000 jobs could be lost.
PC MPP John Yakabuski said his party, if elected to govern in next June’s provincial election, would slow down the implementation of the minimum wage increases.
While leaving the $14 an hour wage in place, the PCs would hike it by 0.25 cents an hour each year until it reached $15 an hour on Jan. 1 2022.
“We’re not going to roll it back,” Yakabuski said. “If it’s already been passed and people have been paid that wage, it’s very, very difficult, and quite frankly unfair, to tell somebody that something that you were given six months ago… we’re now taking away.”
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa released his fall economic statement Tuesday that includes a commitment to drop the corporate tax rate for small business to 3.5% from 4.5% in response to concerns raised about the minimum wage.
As well, the fall economic statement proposes $124 million in financial incentives over the next three years to offset the cost of hiring youth aged 15 to 29 in companies with fewer than 100 employees.
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn issued a statement condemning the Tory minimum wage plan.
“Our plan to phase in a $15 minimum wage over 18 months ensures more workers are benefiting from Ontario’s economic growth,” Flynn said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said a delayed minimum wage idea shows how out of touch the provincial Tories are, but said the Wynne Liberals aren’t much better.
The promises in the economic statement are like Wynne’s “stretch goal” of lowering auto insurance rates – not something Ontarians can take to the bank, she said.
The fall economic statement anticipates a balanced budget next spring although net debt will continue to rise to a whopping $335.6 billion in 2019-20.
Sousa said he expects the net debt-to-GDP ratio to fall, but did not provide a date when the actual net debt might begin to level off or fall.
The government needs to invest in future economic competitiveness by spending on infrastructure like transit, schools and hospitals, he said.
“Not to do them would be irresponsible,” Sousa said.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies