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Divisive Minimum Wage Experiment Goes Live in Ontario

  • Ontario plans dramatic 32% pay increase over next 15 months
  • Restaurant owners say wage increase will exceed profit margin

Ontario is about to become a test case for a debate that’s divided economists and politicians for decades: whether a higher minimum wage will really boost living standards for the most vulnerable workers or hurt them by forcing employers to cut jobs.

The government of Canada’s most populous province plans to increase the minimum wage 32 percent to C$15 ($12) an hour by the end of 2018. It’s a swift jump whose impact may be intensified by the fact more than a tenth of its workforce makes the minimum rate, the highest share in the country.