Thursday, 22 June 2017

Minimum Wage in Ontario

While I appreciate the Ontario Liberal’s Party intention to increase the standard of living for lower income wage earners by increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour effective January 1, 2019, I can’t help but wonder if the plan is going to succeed, never mind the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted invested paying consultants to justify the idea in the first place.  

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for paying someone a decent wage, but this is the incorrect approach.

By increasing the minimum wage, you must also increase wages at all levels to keep pace. Otherwise, it creates a disincentive. Take for example, wages for a lifeguard. Depending on which city or private facility you work for, the current wage starts at $13 an hour. Do you know the amount of time and investment required to qualify as a lifeguard, and the requirement to maintaining your qualifications through continuing certifications?  I know that for a fact because both my daughters used to be lifeguards, but stopped as soon as they went to university and found better paying positions. This is also why there is a shortage of qualified lifeguards because of the disparity in pay to the minimum wage standards, which have risen considerably over the years, while the pay scale for lifeguards has stagnated.  

Who wants to spend all the money to be a lifeguard when you can make more money working at McDonald’s?  Guess what, you may not even get a minimum wage job at McDonald’s that easily. Just take a look at the number of self-ordering kiosks that have sprung up lately.  

In addition, small business owners and retailers suffer the most as they will not be able to pass on the increased cost of payroll to consumers easily. To make ends meet, they must reduce the number of hours or eliminate workers. The business owners are the true risk takers, and if Ontario wants to continue to encourage entrepreneurship, increasing minimum wage to such levels will be counter-intuitive.

The only way to increase one’s standard of living is not by waiting for handouts. One must upgrade one’s education, skills and be relevant in this changing world. The gap between the haves and have nots have widened.  But sadly, our government policies have not kept pace.  Life is tough, suck it up!  

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