Get ready to pay more as Windsor-Essex businesses prepare for minimum wage hike
Minimum wage will jump from $11.40 to $14 dollars an hour on Jan. 1
Some Windsor-Essex business owners are preparing to raise their prices as minimum wage in Ontario is set tor jump from $11.40 to $14 dollars an hour in the new year.
At MJ's Pizza and Wings, owner Amjad Awad has already begun re-pricing menus. He said the prices of his pizzas are about to go up by fifteen per cent to offset the extra expenses he expects will come with the wage increase.
"I'm really focusing on our pick up prices, which are already pretty low," Awad explained. "Our pizzas are nine dollars, now we'll have to charge $11.50."
New flyers showcasing the raised prices at MJ's are currently in the works and will be distributed sometime in December.
Awad currently employs four people at his Wyandotte Street and Crawford Avenue location. He said staff are also concerned about what the increase might mean.
"My staff doesn't even like it," he said. "They'll be getting an increase but they know they'll be paying for it somewhere else."
Wage increase or tax grab?
Concerns about the impact of the increase has also been a subject of discussion among body shop mechanics.
Walter Desrosier, owner of Waltz Paint and Body Shop Limited, said he believes the wage increase will not benefit the average worker and instead is more like a tax grab.
"You're going up three dollars in January. How much more take home pay is it going to be?" asked Desrosier, who believes there will be "higher taxes, higher unemployment, higher Canada pension."
He said at the end of the day, the minimum wage increase won't affect how he's run his establishment for the past three decades. Still, he remains critical of the move.
"You can afford to pay your employees if your business is up to par and running well, but the difference is how much are your employees going to benefit from this and how much are the tax people going to benefit from this? That's really my question."
Desrosier also points out that in his industry he cannot raise labour rates, especially when dealing with insurance companies because prices after appraising are typically fixed.
The business community is going to have to adjust to their new environment.- Matt Marchand, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce
"When an appraiser comes in and looks at a red car and you're getting x-amount of dollars and that's about it," he explained. "You can negotiate to make sure the car is fixed properly but that doesn't increase your labour rate."
"I can increase my labour rates for general customers off the streets but is that going to be fair to do that to the people that give you business?" he added.
Desrosier said his costs will most likely increase even more next year as he plans to hire more staff.
"How much more money is that person going to get? If he got $50 more to take home as part time and every thing else goes up you know cost factors will go up twice what the raise is," said Desrosier. "So how much further ahead are people?"
50K jobs could be at risk
The Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce has worries that the three-dollar increase could disrupt the labour market.
"We've got a cost structure issue here in Ontario. We asked for a five-year phase for the minimum wage," said Matt Marchand, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.
Marchand explained the fear is that because of the speed of the increase there's a potential that up to 50,000 jobs could be at risk.
"That's not the chambers numbers, that's the government of Ontario's own numbers," he said, adding the chamber's numbers are even higher. "The business community is going to have to adjust to their new environment."