Ontario to keep minimum wage increase

McGuinty backtracks, says minimum wage will increase to $10.25 in 2010

Bowing to public pressure, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says next year's minimum wage increase will go ahead as scheduled.

Last week, McGuinty told a group of business leaders in Ottawa that Ontario may put next year's minimum wage increase on hold because of the poor economy. However, the province would go ahead with this year's increase from $8.75 an hour to $9.50 an hour on March 31.

McGuinty said the worsening economy would make the government reassess its position next year regarding increasing the minimum wage to $10.25 an hour.

"We'll have to wait and see what is happening to the economy," McGuinty told reporters last week. "I think that's only fair to everybody concerned before we move ahead with that last instalment."

Today in the legislature, after a weekend of taking heat from anti-poverty activists and low-income workers, the premier said he had mis-spoken and the increase would go ahead as planned.

When McGuinty's Liberals came to power in 2003, the minimum wage had been frozen at $6.85 for eight years. The Liberals have since made annual, incremental increases to the minimum wage and in 2007, McGuinty promised to raise the minimum wage to $10.25 in 2010.

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