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article imageOntario restaurant industry upset over minimum wage increase Special

By Andrew Moran     Mar 31, 2010 in Business
Toronto - In Ontario, the minimum wage will rise to $10.25 for all employees across the province, but some people are not happy about this as they feel they will have to cut hours and lay off their employees.
Digital Journal reported earlier this month that the provincial minimum wage is set to rise from $9.50 to $10.25 and several organizations representing small business owners urged Premier Dalton McGuinty to reconsider his position.
Now the restaurant industry in Ontario is upset over the hike as the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association says it will be an extra $255 million in annual wage costs, according to The Canadian Press.
One member of the group’s Ontario branch, Stephanie Jones, said she has received a large number of calls and emails from restaurants around the province because the minimum wage increase will force businesses to cut hours and jobs.
In a statement released on Wednesday, reports the Toronto Sun, Jones said, “In this tough economy, the government realizes the need to control its own wage costs, but has no reservations about imposing a huge hike on Ontario restaurant payrolls. I have received an overwhelming number of calls and emails from restaurant operators outraged by this unfair minimum wage increase, asking how the government could ignore their suffering businesses.”
Nevertheless, some Ontarians are happy, reports the Windsor Star. Meghan Gardner, a 23-year-old mother who works retail, said she feels any increase will help because it's "not easy" when you earn $200 per week.
“I'm luckier than some of my friends because I still live at home and my mom takes care of my daughter while I work, but it's hard to see a future on minimum wage. I can't afford daycare and I'm not confident enough yet with my job to get my own apartment. I'm essentially a cashier, but I want more for myself and my daughter. I could sit home and collect assistance but if I'm going to get a better job, I can't do that from home. I have to work,” said Gardner.
In an e-mail correspondence with Digital Journal, Jennifer C., a student at York University, who also works full-time, explained that she feels it won’t benefit anyone at all, especially in the middle of a recession.
“I’m not an economics major but if we’re in the middle of a financial catastrophe where companies are laying off employees left, right and center, why would you increase the minimum wage? Especially from $9.50 to $10.25. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
The York University psychology major further added that the price of everything will go up, which will force others to hand over more money, including the people who make minimum wage.
“Great! Someone is making more money from their job but won’t they fork it over with higher prices at the grocery store, restaurants and bills? I’m not the most optimistic person in the world but I am a thinker and this just doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Asked if she thinks the Ontario Premier knows what he's doing, Jennifer responded, "My nephew could do a better job than this buffoon. At least my nephew would just play with his toys."
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