Ontario PCs promise to slow $15 minimum wage increase

The Progressive Conservatives announced a surprise policy promise on Tuesday revealing that they will slow down the implementation of the $15 minimum wage increase.

If elected, the PCs will increase the minimum wage by 25 cents ever year from 2018 to 2022

Progressive Conservative critics Vic Fedeli (left) and John Yakabuski (right) discuss policy promises on Ontario's minimum wage. (CBC News)

The Progressive Conservatives announced a policy promise on Tuesday, revealing that they will slow down the implementation of the $15 minimum wage increase.

If elected in 2018, the Tories will increase the minimum wage by 25 cents every year until 2022, when it would reach $15, said PC MPP John Yakabuski.

"We think it's the responsible thing to do," he said. "We recognize that there is a need to raise wages here in the province of Ontario because it's this government that has driven up the cost of living for those very people."

Kathleen Wynne's government is slated to raise the minimum wage in Ontario to $14 an hour as of Jan. 1 2018 with plans to increase it to $15 an hour in 2019.

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario has warned that 50,000 jobs could be lost with a wage hike and businesses have said the increase in employee costs could potentially lead to prices going up, as well as job cuts.

Labour Minister Kevin Flynn issued a statement disapproving of the Tory minimum wage plan.

"Our plan to phase in a $15 minimum wage over 18 months ensures more workers are benefiting from Ontario's economic growth," Flynn said. 

PCs 'out of touch,' Horwath says

While the Tories argue that the Wynne's rapid wage hike will make everything more expensive including gas, Ontario's NDP leader Andrea Horwath said she's surprised by the Progressive Conservative plan.

"They like to talk a good game, but I'll tell you this: I was shocked to hear that they're happy to have workers continue to earn wages that won't even pay the rent and put food on the table," Horwath said.

"We are in favour of a minimum wage increase, we have been for a long time but the fact that the Conservatives are saying people have to wait another four years before $15 minimum wage is in place in Ontario shows how utterly out of touch that party is."