Canada’s Ontario To Boost Minimum Wage To $17.20 An Hour 

Canada’s Ontario To Boost Minimum Wage To $17.20 An Hour
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Ontario will become the province with the second-highest minimum wage in all of Canada when it raises the threshold by 3.9 per cent to $17.20 on October 1.

“Under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford, our government is helping nearly one million workers earn more money for themselves and their families,” said David Piccini, the province’s minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development.

“We are providing businesses with certainty and predictability by announcing this annual wage increase six months in advance, while also helping families offset the rising cost of living, so that Ontario continues to be the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

With the hike in the minimum wage a worker making minimum wage and working 40 hours per week will see an annual pay increase of up to $1,355.

There were 935,600 workers earning at or below $17.20 per hour in 2023.

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Many of them were immigrants. In its Immigration and the shifting occupational distribution in Canada, 2001 to 2021 report, Statistics Canada revealed last month that immigrants increasingly filled lower-level positions – and professional jobs – throughout the country during that 20-year period.

“The results of this study indicate that the role of immigrant workers in low-skilled occupations has increased,” the researchers report.

“Together with temporary foreign workers, they filled some of the low-skilled jobs that previously would have been occupied by Canadian-born workers.”

Canadian workers moved away from lower-skilled jobs during those two decades, leaving them ripe for immigrants seeking jobs and hoping to gain their permanent residency through economic immigration programs.

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“From 2001 to 2021, employment in lower-skilled occupations contracted by 500,000. As Canadian-born workers moved out of this skill level in a substantial way, reducing their employment by 860,000, together, immigrant workers and temporary foreign workers increased their employment in these lower-skilled jobs by 360,000,” report Picot and Hou.

“Hence, to some extent, immigrant workers and temporary foreign workers backfilled Canadian-born workers as they moved away from lower-skilled jobs. This pattern was similar for labourers, the lowest skill-level group. The number of Canadian-born labourers declined, while the employment contribution by immigrant labourers and temporary foreign workers increased.”

Number Of Foreign Nationals Working Lower-Skilled Jobs Or As Labourers Surges

The number of temporary foreign workers in lower-skilled jobs in Canada skyrocketed from 21,200 in 2001 to 160,900 two decades later. The number of temporary foreign workers who took labourers jobs rose from 8,800 in 2001 to 93,500 by 2021.

Among immigrants with permanent resident status, the number holding down lower-skilled jobs rose from 940,000 in 2001 to 1,153,900 in 2021 and those who were labourers rose from 348,400 to 492,300 during the same time period.

Under the Employment Standards Act, Ontario’s minimum wage increases annually based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation that represents changes in prices experienced by Ontario consumers. The CPI rose by 3.9 per cent, resulting in an increase in the minimum wage of 65 cents an hour, to $17.20.

Ontario’s new minimum wage will be the second highest provincial rate, after British Columbia at $17.40 per hour.

About 35 per cent of workers at or below the current general minimum wage of $17.20 per hour are in retail trade and 24 per cent are in accommodation and food services.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.