POLITICS

Ontario Chamber of Commerce wants minimum wage hikes to be linked to inflation

09/11/2013 06:51 EDT | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 EST
TORONTO - The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is calling for any future increases in the minimum wage to be linked to inflation.

The chamber represents 60,000 businesses across the province.

It says there is no clear outline on how the government determines minimum wage, and the ad hoc process is unclear and politicized.

Ontario's minimum wage has been frozen for the past three years at $10.25 an hour.

In a report released Wednesday, the chamber said tying increases to the Consumer Price Index will make the process more transparent and free of political influence.

Chamber president and CEO Allan O'Dette says tying the minimum wage to the CPI will bring predictability to the process.

"It will allow businesses to plan for increases in their labour costs," O'Dette said.

Labour groups including Unifor, Canada's newest union, have been urging the Liberal government to increase the rate to $14.

The chamber, though, warns against sudden, big increases.

"We've seen convincing evidence that major hikes in the minimum wage will have adverse effects on employment levels, particularly among youth and in Ontario's retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors," said O'Dette.

Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi has set up an advisory panel to consult with stakeholders as part of a review of minimum wage.

Consultations began earlier this month and will run until Nov. 7.