Business groups have been campaigning hard against the phase-in period for the minimum wage, saying the increase – which is currently set to rise to $11.60 in October – is too much to absorb that quickly.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has promised to unveil a package of offsets this fall to help business owners cope with increased costs due to labour changes.
Debate on the labour reforms, which includes equal pay for part-time workers, increased vacation entitlements and expanded personal emergency leave, is set to begin this week at the Ontario legislature as the bill heads toward a second reading vote.
Public hearings were held over the summer, and once it passes the majority Liberal legislature on second reading, it will be sent out for a second round of hearings.
If the hike is approved, the number of minimum wage workers will rise from just over 500,000 currently to 1.6 million in 2019.
Minimum wage workers currently represent seven per cent of the total Ontario workforce with that number expected to reach 22 per cent in 2019 once the wage increase is phased in.
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