Ontario’s jump to a $15-dollar minimum wage is out-of-step with economy and puts jobs at risk

May 31, 2017 – TORONTO, Ontario – The Government of Ontario’s decision to increase the minimum wage well beyond the rate of inflation will lead to fewer jobs in the convenience sector.  The jump to $15 dollars per hour jeopardizes jobs in the province, and will put pressure on convenience stores to close locations and reduce employment to remain viable.  Ironically, according to the Ontario Government, half of the workers in Ontario who earn less than $15 per hour are between the ages of 25 and 64, and the majority are women.  This may be where the largest job losses will fall as a result of this policy.

“The Ontario Convenience Store Association (OCSA) supported this government’s previous inflation-tied approach to minimum wage increases,” said Dave Bryans, CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. “That model ensured fair and predictable minimum wage increases for workers across Ontario. The Ontario government’s sudden decision to raise the minimum wage well above the rate of inflation to $15, and without consulting industry, will undoubtedly mean fewer retail jobs, particularly for students and other part-time workers.”

In a 2014 study, the Government of Ontario’s minimum wage panel found that for every 10 per cent minimum wage increase, youth employment is negatively affected and lowered by 6 per cent. With a planned increase of nearly 25 per cent in the minimum wage, youth employment opportunities will suffer.

One regional chain noted: “Frankly, this $15 per hour increase and changes to the employment act has my head swimming. We have two stores close for sure and another three at risk as a result.”

Many of OCSA’s members are independent family stores across Ontario that operate on thin margins. These stores are often the source of local employment opportunities for students and part-time workers. The unprecedented minimum wage increases will further threaten the sustainability of these small stores and the jobs they provide – stores that are already burdened by high hydro prices.

“In many cases, when costs unexpectedly rise, businesses attempt to pass costs onto consumers to remain viable,” said Bryans. “But in the convenience retailing industry, increasing prices and placing costs on the back of consumers is not an option in a highly competitive marketplace.”

 About the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

The OCSA represents many convenience store retailers in the province of Ontario. The not-for-profit association is active in advocacy, education, and training for its members, and is engaged in many issues affecting convenience store retailers. Visit our website www.ontariocstores.ca. Follow us on Twitter @OntarioCStores.


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