McGuinty government raises minimum wage, helps lowest-paid workers

Archived Release

McGuinty government raises minimum wage, helps lowest-paid workers

Ministry of Labour

Minimum wage to be raised for first time in nearly nine years TORONTO, Dec. 1 - The McGuinty government is delivering positive change to Ontario by keeping its commitment to raise Ontario's minimum wage for the first time in nearly nine years, Labour Minister Chris Bentley announced today. "It is time for Ontario's lowest-paid and most vulnerable workers to receive a fair increase in their earnings," said Bentley. "By delivering this positive change, we are providing an opportunity for all to benefit from Ontario's economic prosperity." The minimum wage will be raised to $7.15 per hour on February 1, 2004, and there will be increases each year thereafter until it reaches $8 per hour on February 1, 2007. Bentley said the phased-in approach is the responsible approach, giving Ontario businesses time to adjust to the increases so that they can continue to be competitive with other Canadian and American jurisdictions. "By phasing in the Ontario's minimum wage over four years, we can help these workers benefit from Ontario's economic growth while keeping Ontario businesses competitive," Bentley added. Other minimum wage rates will also increase on February 1, 2004. The minimum wage for: - students under 18 years old and employed for not more than 28 hours a week will rise from $6.40 to $6.70 per hour on Feb. 1, 2004. - liquor servers will increase from $5.95 to $6.20 per hour. - hunting and fishing guides currently paid a minimum of $34.25 for less than five consecutive hours in a day and $68.50 for five or more hours in a day (whether or not the hours are consecutive) will also increase to $35.75 and $71.50 respectively. "The McGuinty government's approach is fair, responsible, and balanced. It's part of the real, positive change that Ontarians expect and deserve from their government." Fact Sheet ONTARIO'S MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE - Ontario's current general minimum wage is $6.85 per hour. This results in a full-time minimum wage earner receiving an annual income of $14,248. - From 1995 to 2002, Ontario's inflation rate increased by over 15 per cent. During this time, the average hourly earnings of an Ontario worker (excluding overtime) have increased by 15.5 per cent. Over the same period, the general minimum wage remained frozen at $6.85 per hour. - In 2000, there were 191,000 minimum wage earners in Ontario, earning between the liquor server's minimum wage of $5.95 per hour and the general minimum wage of $6.85 per hour. This represents approximately 3.1 per cent of the estimated number of workers in Ontario in 2000. - Another 489,000 workers earned between the general minimum wage of $6.85 per hour and $8.00 per hour. This represents approximately 7.9 per cent of the estimated number of workers employed in Ontario in 2000. Implementation Timelines - The general minimum wage for Ontario workers will increase to $7.15 per hour on February 1, 2004 from the current rate of $6.85 per hour. Further increases will follow on an annual basis, bringing the minimum wage to $8.00 per hour by February 2007. - By phasing-in these increases, the government is helping low-income workers while giving Ontario businesses the opportunity to adjust to these increases so that they can stay competitive with other Canadian and American jurisdictions. --------------------------------------------- Ontario General Minimum Wage Rate/hr Implementation Date --------------------------------------------- $6.85 January 1995 --------------------------------------------- $7.15 February 1, 2004 --------------------------------------------- $7.45 February 1, 2005 --------------------------------------------- $7.75 February 1, 2006 --------------------------------------------- $8.00 February 1, 2007 --------------------------------------------- Minimum Wage Increases for Specific Job Categories: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Minimum Current February 1, February 1, February 1, February 1, Wage Rate 2004 2005 2006 2007 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ General $6.85 $7.15 $7.45 $7.75 $8.00 Minimum Wage per hour per hour per hour per hour per hour ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Students under $6.40 $6.70 $6.95 $7.25 $7.50 18 and working per hour per hour per hour per hour per hour not more than 28 hours per week ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Liquor server $5.95 $6.20 $6.50 $6.75 $6.95 per hour per hour per hour per hour per hour ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hunting and $34.25: $35.75 $37.25 $38.75 $40.00 Fishing guides paid this minimum rate for less than five conse- cutive hours in a day; $68.50: $71.50 $74.50 $77.50 $80.00 for five or more hours in a day whether or not the hours are conse- cutive ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Homeworkers 110 per 110 per 110 per 110 per 110 per (defined as cent of cent of cent of cent of cent of people doing the the the the the paid work in general general general general general their home for minimum minimum minimum minimum minimum a third party wage wage wage wage wage employer) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Disponible en fran├žais For more information visit www.gov.on.ca/lab/For further information: Contact: Bruce Stewart, Minister's Office, (416) 326-7710