CFIB’s response to October minimum wage increase announcement

Toronto, March 31, 2023 – Inflation continues to drive up costs for everyone, and that includes Ontario’s small businesses. Small firms don’t have the wiggle room that larger businesses do to absorb higher costs, especially at this vulnerable, post-pandemic time.

Our members have told us that passing on new costs to customers is not an option. If they can’t afford to absorb today’s announced $1.05 minimum wage increase, they’ll be forced to make tough decisions, such as reducing employee hours, foregoing job-creating expansions, or turning down projects and other business opportunities.  

Many small businesses across Ontario are struggling to get back on their feet. Over half of the province’s small firms are still experiencing below normal sales and their average COVID-related debt is over $100,000. They’re also facing other cost pressures from all sides, including increased payroll taxes, increased property taxes, and increased wage pressures in a tight labour market, in addition to inflation driving up the cost of everything. Tomorrow, they’ll be hit with yet another cost increase when the federal government hikes the carbon tax. 

It's crucial that governments at all levels understand that any cost increase doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We urge the Ontario government to take the time between now and October 1st to conduct an economic impact assessment and bring in pro-active mitigation and cost-offsetting measures to help small businesses. 

We’ll continue to share feedback from small business owners with government, so they hear directly from the small business front lines.

-Ryan Mallough, Vice President, Legislative Affairs (Ontario)
-Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs (Ontario)
-Riley Locke, Policy Analyst (Ontario) 
For media inquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region, including 38,000 in Ontario. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at