Doug Ford’s government will hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour from $14.35 starting on January 1, 2022, multiple sources confirm with CityNews.
The minimum wage will reportedly then go up every October in line with the rate of inflation.
Sources say the liquor server’s minimum wage will also increase to $15 an hour on January 1st. That wage currently sits at $12.55 per hour.
The province is expected to make an official announcement on Tuesday morning.
Ford initially scrapped a planned increase to $15 when his government took power over three years ago.
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca was quick to call Ford out for changing his tune on minimum wage as an election nears.
"Seven months before an election, now that he’s desperate for votes," Del Duca tweeted, pointing out the financial blow caused by the Ford government’s earlier wage freeze.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says it was "shocked" by the news.
Ryan Mallough, the CFIB’s Senior Director of Provincial Affairs for Ontario, told CityNews the wage hike "came out of nowhere, there was no consultation or warning."
Mallough says many small businesses, especially those in hospitality, will suffer.
"To see this happening so abruptly and in particular for hard hit industries is a really bitter pill to swallow as we head into a very important holiday season," he said.
Mallough said coming off the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses will have a hard time dealing with the extra cost.
"In the short term, when businesses are at their most vulnerable, this is going to be another major input cost that they are going to have to face regardless of whether or not they are making money.
"It is going to be a tight pinch - but the timing heading into a crucial holiday season is going to be incredibly difficult."
With files from Richard Southern