By Ricardo Tremblay | CANADA
On January 1st, 2018, the minimum wage in the province of Ontario, Canada, increased from $11.60 CAD to $14.00. On January 1st, 2019, the minimum wage will be further increased to $15. Out further west, the province of Alberta has also passed a law that will increase the minimum wage there to $15 in the month of October 2018.
After only a week of the change being put into effect in Ontario, prices across the whole province for various goods and services have increased significantly. This is due to the fact that businesses will not, and rightfully should not, simply let themselves lose money because they have to pay their workers 20%-30% more. The easiest and most effective way for businesses to make that money back is to increase the prices of their goods and services accordingly. In other words, the price for goods and services at many retailers goes up. This is bad for customers, as they have to pay more, and this is bad for the businesses, as they are not gaining anything out of the change themselves and have to increase their prices.
“But it benefits the poor workers!”, some may say. What these people fail to realize is that businesses have also been laying off many workers, and giving minimum wage employees shorter and less frequent shifts. These employees will end up seeing that this ‘benefit’ may end up costing them their job, or not doing much more than giving them fewer work hours. The employees aren’t exempt from the price increases either, so ironically they will end up paying more for products as well.
This creates a situation in which businesses, employees, and especially consumers end up unhappy and frustrated. Not many people, if any at all, actually end up benefiting from the minimum wage increase. In comparison, the recent tax cuts in The United States have resulted in bonuses and wage increases for employees all over the country, and this was all done without hurting consumers, and by instead helping corporations flourish.
All in all, this is just another of countless examples as to why government interference and a government-controlled economy lead only to harder times for everyone. Some Canadians may have suffered due to these changes, so hopefully advocates for higher minimum wages in other provinces and nations will soon realize the effects of their desires, and instead advocate for a freer, more stable method to benefit the working class, that isn’t at the expense of everyone else.