WATCH: Financial watchdog warns wage hike could cost Ontario 50,000 jobs
The province's financial watchdog says that Ontario's proposed minimum wage hike could result in more than 50,000 job losses.
In a report released today, Financial Accountability Officer Stephen LeClair estimates that job losses will be concentrated among teens and young adults.
In July, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced her government would increase Ontario's minimum wage to $15 an hour by Jan. 1, 2019.
There's nothing I would read in the FAO report that would dissuade us from moving ahead. Clearly, I think, people in Ontario support the notion that if you work 35 or 40 hours a week in this province, you put in a good week's work and sometimes in excess of that, you deserve to be able to pay rent, to buy food," says Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn. "Even if the FAO report is accurate; even if his forecast does come to pass, we're confident that the job creation record of this province will overtake that, will surpass that."
The FAO report says that because of the dramatic nature of the minimum wage increase it will provide greater incentive for businesses to aggressively reduce costs.
The report also says the new policy will increase the number of minimum wage workers in Ontario from just over 500,000 to 1.6 million in 2019.
Groups representing both small and large businesses across Ontario have said the minimum wage increase would lead to layoffs.