Government shouldn’t demonize small business owners over minimum wage

It’s impossible to ignore the politics behind the Ontario government’s increase in the minimum wage. If the previous threshold was 20% too low, as the Liberals are now arguing, why didn’t they do something about that over the course of the past 14 years they’ve been in power, rather than six months before the next election?

Instead, Premier Kathleen Wynne has set up what she hopes is an ideal optic: her party is fighting for underpaid workers against big, greedy businesses that would take away their benefits or cut their hours. But demonizing small-business owners is not the way to grow the economy. And while there may be a few companies who are exploiting the situation to try to score political points or save money, most business owners are simply trying to cope with seeing their payroll increase by about 30% in one year.

It’s insulting for the premier to suggest otherwise. No one should be opposed to employees making more money, but the increase could have been more gradual. The only reason it isn’t is that there’s an election coming. If anyone is being insensitive and unfair, it’s not business owners. It’s the government.

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