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Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath commits to $20/hr minimum wage

The rate would increase annually through 2026
Andrea Horwath is the leader of the Ontario NDP, the official opposition party

TORONTO — The NDP has released details of its plan to implement a minimum wage of $20/hr in Ontario.

Leader Andrea Horwath says if her party wins power in next June's provincial election, it will raise the minimum wage by one dollar in Oct. 2022, followed by annual increases of one dollar an hour each May 1st until 2026.

Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government recently announced a plan to raise the minimum from the current $14.35/hr to $15/hr on Jan. 1, 2022.

Horwath on Tuesday said Ford previously cancelled a minimum wage increase planned by the previous Liberal administration, and froze the basic rate for three years.

She said her plan offers businesses a predictable path so they can prepare for the changes.

Horwath also promised a special fund to help struggling smaller businesses, farms, and agri-businesses transition to the higher rates.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business criticized the Ford government's planned New Year's Day increase, saying it will come at a time when many businesses are still struggling with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is no time to add to their costs,” said chamber CEO Rocco Rossi.