Ontario’s minimum wage hits $8
Last Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2007 | 11:41 AM ET
Ontario’s minimum wage officially rose on Thursday to $8 an hour, but the government warns not to expect another hike any time soon.
The 25-cent wage hike puts Ontario on par with British Columbia, but still behind the territories in the North. Manitoba and Quebec will soon join the ranks of provinces with $8 minimum wage rates.
The McGuinty Liberals have phased in the $8 minimum wage over the past four years in increments of 25 to 30 cents. The rate was $6.85 in 2003, and had been at that rate since 1995.
The New Democratic Party has repeatedly said the rate is still too low, and called for an increase to the $10 range.
“The minimum wage in Ontario is not a living wage,” said NDP Leader Howard Hampton. “You cannot pay the rent, put food on the table, look after your family working for minimum wage.
“We need at least a $10-an-hour minimum wage for people to be able to do that,” he said.
But the Liberals said another increase is not on the horizon.
“Ontario did not see a raise in the minimum wage for nine years, and we campaigned in 2003 (saying) we would be moving the minimum wage,” Labour Minister Steve Peters said Wednesday.
About 5.3 per cent of Ontarians receive minimum wage. Many are part-time employees.
Canada’s lowest minimum wage is $7 in Alberta, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Minimum wage rate
Northwest Territories, Yukon $8.25
British Columbia, Ontario $8.00
Nova Scotia, P.E.I. $7.15
Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador $7.00