• Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce Speaks Up About Minimum Wage

    In September, the Ontario government’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel announced that the minimum wage will be going up. Following the example set by many other provinces and countries, the panel’s decision will likely come to tying the minimum to an economic indicator — such as the Consumer Price Index — in order to create a more predicable framework moving forward.

    For a long time, Ontario’s wage approach has been defined by extended periods of idleness and sudden substantial increases. Some businesses surprisingly support this model, however, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce views this as problematic. Such an approach can be detrimental to the region’s employment and economic growth, as the sudden boost in minimum wage often results in reduction of employment and other budgetary cutbacks for many industries. Considering 35% of Niagara’s economy is minimum wage-based employment — retail, tourism, hospitality — establishing a consistent and predictable system is crucial to the over health of the economy.

    Considering there are over 55,000 employees working in-and-around minimum wage in Niagara, the Government of Ontario’s newest statistics are alarming. A study suggests that a 10% increase could drop employment levels by 3 to 6%. That’s anywhere between 1,500 and 3,000 lost jobs. It’s no wonder the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce sees the need to step up and raise an opinion during this time.

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