Minimum wage earners are getting a raise in the new year

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Premier Doug Ford announced the plan to increase the general minimum wage from $14.35 to $15 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2022. Under the proposed changes, the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers would be eliminated and they would be entitled to the general minimum wage.

Students under 18, homeworkers and hunting, fishing and wilderness guides would also see an increase in their special minimum wage rates.

“Ontario’s workers have been the unsung heroes of this pandemic, as they’ve stocked shelves, kept our supply chain moving and helped so many of us enjoy a meal among family and friends at a local restaurant,” Ford said.

“When we asked labour leaders what their priorities were, increasing the minimum wage was at the top of the list. As the cost of living continues to go up, our government is proud to be working for workers, putting more money into their pockets by increasing the minimum wage.”

Special minimum wage rates are also proposed to increase:

  • Students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays would see an increase from $13.50 to $14.10 an hour.
  • Homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers) would see an increase from $15.80 an hour to $16.50 an hour.

“We also recognize that for too long workers have been falling behind, and that wages for many have not kept up with the cost of living,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Ontario workers should be in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom.”

Proposed changes are part of the government’s broader effort to support, protect and attract workers.

Due to the pandemic, there have recently been higher than usual increases in the cost of  living. A full-time worker making the general minimum wage could see an annual earnings increase of $1,350 in 2022 under the proposed legislation.

From January-August 2021, there were 763,500 workers at or below the proposed general minimum wage of $15 in Ontario (StatsCan Labour Force Survey, 2021).

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