Business says workers deserve minimum wage increase, but could mean higher prices

Workers and businesses in Windsor, Ont., are reacting to news that the Ford government plans to increase the provincial minimum wage to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022.

'It's going to be a challenge,' says owner of small bakery

'We understand there’s a raise and you know what, they deserve it,' says George Marar, the co-owner of Bourbon Tap & Grill. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC)

Workers and businesses in Windsor, Ont., are reacting to news that the Ford government plans to increase Ontario's minimum wage to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Tuesday morning, saying it will benefit an estimated 760,000 people across the province.

That raise includes employees who serve alcohol and receive tips who will go from $12.55 to $15 per hour.

Following these increases, the minimum wage will increase every October, according to the inflation rate.

George Marar, the co-owner of Bourbon Tap & Grill, said the announcement caught him by surprise, but he also understands the need.

"To some people the 65 cents doesn't seem like a big jump, but to businesses like us and the surrounding area, if you've got 40, 50 employees that makes a big difference," he said.

"But that being said, we understand there's a raise and you know what, they deserve it, but at the same time that means prices are probably going to have to go up too across the board too."

"That's not a huge raise in minimum wage," said Hal Helms. "So that's probably not such a bad thing."

Windsorites react to Ontario's minimum wage hike

7 months ago
Duration 0:39
Windsorites shared their opinions after learning Tuesday that the Ontario government announced it will raise the province's minimum wage to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022,.

While acknowledging that it may raise prices at restaurants, he said it wouldn't affect how he tipped servers.

"It would never affect how I tip servers," he said. "It wouldn't affect me, but it would affect other people."

"It's not enough," said Ghada Aljabai, who said the cost of rent alone makes it tough.

Aljabai said she thinks the minimum wage should be $17 an hour.

'Makes it more difficult'

'One of those sleepless nights,' says small business owner, following minimum wage increase

7 months ago
Duration 0:40
West-end bakery owner Rosemary Grayer-Howell said it's been a difficult year to make ends meet for her small business, and is worried Ontario's minimum wage increase next year will add more of a strain.

Rosemary Grayer-Howell, owner of Country Rose Bakery, said the raise comes at a tough time.

"It's been difficult through COVID, and this just makes it more difficult," she said.

"It's going to be a challenge. I'm sure not just for me, but for many other local small businesses."

The minimum wage was last increased by 10 cents on Oct. 1.

Shortly after winning the election in 2018, the Ford government froze the hourly minimum wage at $14, scrapping legislation that would have pushed it to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019.

The freeze stayed in place until October 2020, when an increase of 25 cents per hour took effect. 

More from CBC Windsor:

With files from Aastha Shetty


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