Large employers much more likely to pay minimum wage

Larger firms 5 times more likely than small employers to pay minimum wage

Large firms are far more likely to pay minimum wage than smaller firms, according to research from Social Planning Toronto and the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage.

In 2013, firms with over 500 workers employed almost 50 per cent of Ontario’s low-wage workers, according to Statistics Canada. Large employers increased their hiring of minimum-wage workers by over 190 per cent since 1998, and in Ontario, 30 per cent of employees in large organizations were paid minimum wage — or less. That’s compared to just 5.6 per cent of employees in small firms (those with less than 100 workers).

"Clearly, minimum wage workers are increasingly and disproportionately being employed by large employers," said Deena Ladd, co-ordinator of the Workers' Action Centre.

"This growth of low-wage and unstable employment underscores the urgency of the Ontario government's promise to modernize Ontario's employment standards to reflect the reality of today's labour market."

In 2015, the Ontario Ministry of Labour will undertake a comprehensive review of the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act.

"Many people think that a higher minimum wage will hurt small businesses, but it's more likely that raising the wage floor would help level the playing field between small businesses and large employers that profit from maintaining a low-wage workforce," said Navjeet Sidhu, the report's co-author.

"The research suggests that raising the minimum wage is as much a matter of fairness among employers as it is for workers."

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