Time For a $15 Minimum Wage in Ontario

Mr. Taras Natyshak: My question is to the Premier. Ontarians, especially young Ontarians, want to work. They want good-paying jobs where they know they’ll be valued and where they know they’ll be able to meet their needs: food on the table, clothes on their backs and the ability to build a future for themselves and for their families. That’s why New Democrats believe that Ontarians deserve a $15 minimum wage.

Will the Premier stand here today and commit to increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour?

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Thank you to the honourable member. What you will see when you look around the country right now is that Ontario is leading the way when it comes to the minimum wage—not only the minimum wage itself, but the way that that minimum wage is set. In the past, it was unpredictable. Business asked us for predictability, those people who are working in those types of jobs asked us for predictability as well.

What we did is we went out in the field, we talked to experts from the field of poverty, from employment law, from advocates for people who are working in these jobs and we came to the conclusion that we could put in a system that was better than the one that was in place when the minimum wage was frozen for years. Ontarians are proud of the system we have in place today. It gives a guaranteed increase based on the rate of inflation and gives predictability to business.

Mr. Taras Natyshak: Hard-working Ontarians, whether they’re just starting out or whether they’re starting over, don’t think that $15 an hour is too much to ask, and no one wants to risk their lives or worry about being fired if they get sick or miss work. That’s why if someone wants to join a union they should be able to join a union with fewer barriers, and when they do join a union they ought to be able to negotiate a contract quickly.

We think that people deserve good jobs that help them into the middle class. Why wasn’t there anything in the throne speech that does that?