It’s looking more and more like the minimum wage hike announced by the Wynne government could be the hot-button issue in next year’s provincial election.
When the plan was announced, there was an immense pushback from small business owners and chambers of commerce, all of them warning of job losses and even bankruptcies if the hike to $15 an hour takes place.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Charles Sousa unveiled a plan to pacify those concerns, offering millions of dollars in incentives and tax reductions to small businesses, most of which will come into effect early next year as the minimum wage jumps to $14 an hour.
Ontario offering small businesses relief to ease transition to higher min wage
The big question now for the government is, will these incentives be enough to win over small business owners as we head to the polls next spring?
The government is able to offer this goody package to small business because the Ontario economy is actually outperforming all expectations and the economic outlook for the election year is positive.
So will this win the hearts and minds of small business types?
Depends on who you ask.
Not surprisingly, the opposition parties say the move is too little too late, but the real test will be how this is received on Main streets in cities and towns across Ontario.
One thing is for sure; next year’s election just got a lot more interesting.
Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News.