Kathleen Wynne defends minimum wage increase

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne defended on Friday her government's decision to raise Ontario's minimum wage, and repeated her call to have future increases linked to inflation.

Ontario premier wants future increases tied to inflation

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway she wants to see future minimum wage increases determined by the rate of inflation, not the whims of the party in power at Queen's Park. (Steven Bull/CBC)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is defending her government's decision to raise Ontario's minimum wage, and repeated her call to have future minimum wage increases linked to inflation.

"It is the fairest position that we could have taken," Wynne said in an interview Friday on CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "For someone who's working 40 hours a week, it's about $30 in their pockets."

Ontario's minimum hourly wage will rise to $11 effective June 1. Anti-poverty activists and unions have been demanding an immediate increase to a $14-an-hour minimum wage, but the government has said that would hurt businesses and end up reducing jobs.

Wynne told host Matt Galloway her government wants a more systematic way to decide on future increases, rather have the government attempt to strike a balance between the competing demands of business groups and poverty advocates.

"In the past, political whim and government ideology has … driven minimum wage," said Wynne. "There hasn't been a system to it."

Wynne said she wants to see decisions about future minimum wage increases tied to inflation.

"We have to bring in legislation to tie it to inflation and I hope we have the support of the other parties in the legislature," she said.

Galloway pointed out that the wage boost will still leave many Ontarians struggling to make ends meet.

"It is the fairest position that we could have taken," said Wynne.  "It is doing more than if we had frozen the wage."

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