The President of the North Bay and District Labour Council says labour is pleased that the minimum wage has gone up to $14 an hour. Henri Giroux says various groups worked with the province long and hard to bring labour reform for workers including increasing the minimum hourly range. He says the new amount gives people somewhat of a living wage, something that wasn’t possible when they were earning less than $12 an hour. Next year the hourly rate increases to $15 an hour, an amount Giroux says labour wanted to see implemented for 2018. “$15 an hour isn’t enough, but we’ll take that for now,” said Giroux.
Meanwhile Giroux is dismissing business concerns that employers might have to lay people off to cope with the sudden rise in wages. Giroux says the government considered this possibility and took steps to avoid this. “The Liberals gave small business tax relief to help them deal with the $14 an hour and $15 an hour,” he said. Giroux also doubts that business is correct when merchants claim the higher hourly rate will result in lower sales. In fact he believes just the opposite will happen. “If I’m getting an extra $2 or $3 an hour, I’m going to spend the money in (local) shops,” he said. I might even be able to buy a new car because I can afford it. What I won’t be doing is putting the money in a tax haven.” On Wednesday, Moose News will report a belief of the local chamber of commerce about an unintended consequence the new minimum wage will have for people already making more than $14 an hour.