TORONTO, May 30, 2017 – Today’s announcement of a $15/hr minimum wage, combined with other costly changes to Employment Standards, betrays the trust of Ontario’s business community — including the more than 37,000 restaurants, bars and other foodservice establishments that employ nearly 473,000 Ontarians, from Pickle Lake to Kingsville.

“Just three short years ago, the Premier committed to a balanced, predictable model to set minimum wage rates,” says James Rilett, Ontario Vice President with Restaurants Canada. “Business took her at her word and supported the changes. Little did we know that she would turn around and make a backroom deal with union leaders.”

Ontario’s minimum wage is jumping by an astronomical 22.8% in January 2018, which is 10 times the rate of inflation. The total increase by January 2019 will be 31.6% in just 18 months – a total hit of $1.8 billion to the province’s restaurant industry.


  • The average restaurant owner in Ontario has 10 employees and annual revenues of $689,000
  • They earn a pre-tax profit of 3.4% (the lowest of any Canadian province), or $23,450 per year
  • A 31.6% wage hike will cost $47,000 per year, more than wiping out their profits

Source: Statistics Canada and Restaurants Canada

“Today’s announcement is devastating to the thousands of small business owners who hire and train high school students, newcomers to Ontario and others looking for a first start in the labour market,” says Rilett. “There is no question this will lead to fewer jobs, fewer hours, and fewer employers.”

“The government says it wants to get kids out of their parents’ basements, but today’s announcement will have the opposite effect. We’re going to see more young people living in their parents’ basements longer.”

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry.


3 responses to “Wynne government plays politics with youth jobs”

  1. Richard says:

    This sudden change in minimum wage is a train wreck waiting to happen. Created by politicians trying to buy votes .Prices will likely rise, which will push some customers out of the market, or increase costs to any customer that chooses to continue to frequent restaurants It will create job loss and the closure of many restaurants. The Canadian banks should also be fighting this change as they will bear the brunt of these bankruptcies. Many of these are small business loans that are guaranteed by the government so all taxpayers lose. This train wreck will touch all parts of the business including suppliers to those restaurants.

  2. Ellen Sandler says:

    I totally agree with the above. This is so inflationary. It is a rippling affect. All small businesses will have to increase pricing to absorb this increase resulting in not only labour costs going up but food costs, supplies, etc. All small business will be affected by higher costs not only restaurants. You are creating a world that will no longer recognize service as being important and the use of technology taking over for jobs. Jobs for young people are so important to build self esteem, independence and good social skills. Our young people only communicate with text. This is going to get worse over time. This will result in higher unemployment, less money for the government, more people collecting ei. What is the point. Increase minimum wage gradually not in one big chunk. I will not vote liberal ever!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Paul says:

    If you need some support contacting your MPP, please feel free to get in touch. Be happy to confirm the name and contact info for you and help even provide a draft message if you like. This is a really tough issue given how it has been positioned and everyone will need to make their voice and vote heard.

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