TORONTO — While some Ontarians are busy celebrating the province’s eight per cent minimum wage increase, the restaurant industry is worried about the cost it will have on its bottom line.
According to the Canadian Restaurant Foodservices Association (CRFA), the new wage of $10.25 an hour will cost foodservice operators an extra $255 million annually. “An eight per cent increase in minimum wage when inflation is just 0.4 per cent will force up all wages in our industry, leaving restaurant owners with no choice but to cut hours and jobs,” said Stephanie Jones, the CRFA’s vice-president, Ontario. “At a time when we are trying to grow employment and rebuild our economy, dramatic minimum wage increases are entirely counterproductive.”
The lobbying group has delivered petitions and proposed minimum wage increase more in line with economic indicators like CPI and even introduced the option of freezing liquor server and student minimum wage differentials in recognition of the extra income earned by liquor servers.
On the other hand, as minimum wages continue to rise across the country this year, some pundits think the hike isn’t enough. “The recent rebound in minimum wages still hasn’st fixed the damage from decades of neglect. In real terms, the average minimum is still a dollar lower than in 1976,” writes Globe and Mail economist and writer Jim Stanford in the newspaper.