Sunday, February 11, 2007


Two Tiered

There has been plenty of discussion in Ontario about the need (and for some desire) to see the province's minimum wage hiked from $8 to $10. To many on the left it is matter of economic fairness. To many small business owners it is a job killer. Since no government seems serious about moving the minimum tax threshold, minimum wage becomes a calling card.

Ontario should follow the lead of British Columbia and Alberta and go two-tiered - one wage for those over 19 and one for those under. Outrageuos you say. Age discrimination. Neither. The recent hike in the US is leading to some examples. The Economic Policy Institute in Arizona figures that three in 10 workers in the state are between 16 and 19 AND live at home. It is not to say that these workers didnt need an increase in wage but a hike of 15 percent in one sitting is a little extreme since inflation is runnning at between two and three percent in most cases.

The real issue is that too many Canadians are struggling to earn a decent living and the problem is more complex than simply mandating business to pay more at the bottom end.

Mea Culpa - My research bad. This happened in Ontario. Carry on as you were.

Ontario already has, and has had for a long time, a lower minimum wage for people under the age of 18.
It's a compromise for small business owners, not an altogether bad one. I wouldn't support an increase from $8 to $10, however. A 25% increase in employment expenses is a ridiculous amount for small business owners to bear. If you're going to do it, do it incrementally.
BC has a Training Wage - $6/hour. It is not age specific, yet is is less than Ontario's minimum wage for people under 18 - $7.50/hr.

I won't go into all the scummy practices that this legislation has produced - just use your imagination.

Equal pay for equal work. Why should someone 17 years old get paid less for the same work than someone 35 years old just because one is under 18 and the other is over? That is NO different than saying a woman should get paid less than a man or a blonde should be paid less than a red head.

The same holds true for the training wage.

Why should someone who has worked for more than 500 hours be paid more than someone who has worked less than 500 hours if they start the same job on the same day with absolutely no experience?

Let's take fast food:

Burger Joint has hired 2 new cooks:

Cook A has 500 hours of work but has no cooking experience and has never taken the food safe course

Cook B has less than 500 hours of work, but has a food safe certificate and has taken foods courses all through highschool.

Why should Cook A be paid more than Cook B?

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