The report indicates the province added approximately 78,000 jobs over the past 12 months, which is definitely good news on the surface.
When minimum wage was raised to $14/hr at the beginning of 2018, some politicians and groups went into Chicken Little mode – the sky was literally going to fall on Ontario’s economy.
Well, as the statistics show, that didn’t happen.
While the province saw job growth in 2018, that doesn’t necessarily mean a higher minimum wage was a rousing success.
The overall impact of the move probably won’t be measured for some time.
It’s taken years to see the full effect of increasing minimum wage in other jurisdictions.
The Ford government has faced criticism for not moving forward to increase minimum wage to $15/hr in 2019, but to be fair, the Premier was rather clear well before he was elected that it wouldn’t happen as scheduled.
And while 78,000 new jobs is welcome news, further research in the labour market report shows some concerning recent trends.
In December, while the province saw a net growth of 17,600 jobs, it lost a total of 11,600 full-time jobs.
Back in August, Ontario lost more than 80,000 jobs, the largest drop since January 2009 when worldwide economies were hit by the largest recession since the Great Depression.
The Ford government was quick to highlight the overall boost in jobs, but didn’t mention the plunge in full-time positions. With the current government only serving half of 2018, it would be unfair to point the finger at them. However, the Liberals are gone now and it the PCs’ responsibility to figure out a way to end this trend of part-time employment in Ontario and attract industry to help create permanent, well-paying, full-time positions.
While the increase in minimum hourly wages was a benefit to those in the part-time realm, it is the lower paying full time positions that have suffered. The 30 per cent wage hike for menial jobs has left little to none for employers to work with in providing increases to the middle sector. It was an idea that was meant well but came at a bad time for Ontario businesses.
Let’s hope the new government can find a way to bring prosperity back to the province and its workers.