Toronto, September 28, 2017 – Increasing the minimum wage to $15 in Ontario would disproportionately hurt young workers, potentially resulting in 68,100-155,900 youth job losses in the province, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
“While hiking the minimum wage to $15 may sound like a good idea, the evidence shows it would be a job killer,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “It would particularly affect employment opportunities for Ontario’s youth, a segment of the population that already suffers from high unemployment.”
Currently, over 60 per cent of minimum wage workers in Canada are young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Past research has shown that as the minimum wage rises, these young workers become the most vulnerable group in the economy. Often, as their wage costs increase, employers will choose to hire more experienced adult workers over younger workers.
“Almost 90 per cent of employees who work for Ontario’s CFIB business members earn above the current minimum wage. However, some important sectors of the economy that employ a large number of young people and students – like retail and hospitality – don’t have the margins to absorb a 32 per cent increase to the minimum wage,” said Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB director of provincial affairs for Ontario. “The many businesses that already pay at least $15 per hour are telling us they will be forced to cut the jobs of younger and lower-skilled workers to accommodate raises in higher wage categories.”
Since 2014, Ontario has been increasing the minimum wage annually based on the rate of inflation. There were no consultations on the proposed change in policy before Ontario’s minimum wage legislation was introduced in June.
CFIB’s job loss range confirms the findings of recently-released reports by Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer and TD Economics on the impact of Ontario’s proposed $15 minimum wage increase.
For the complete analysis including methodology, download the report here.
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CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 42,000 in Ontario.