Ontario raised its minimum wage from $11.60 per hour to $14 and will raise it by another dollar per hour a year from now. That’s a big jump all at once and has jump-started the ages-old debate about how much workers should be paid, how much businesses can afford to pay them, and whether Ontario’s policy will help vulnerable workers make ends meet. The owners of two Tim Horton’s coffee shops, coincidentally the offspring of Tim Horton and Ron Joyce who started Tim Horton’s, became the face of the debate in that province.
They who apparently sent their employees a letter informing them the increased costs would be passed on to them in the form of eliminating paid breaks and having to now pay half the costs of their medical and health benefits. I read a couple of interesting articles on this, one about how the minimum wage debate is first and foremost about human beings, what we owe one another, what we expect from one another, what we value about one another and how much we value it, and what we are OK taking from and doing to one another. These moral/ethical questions don’t seem to be part of the hard-nosed debate about how to make the free market work. The question of whether a guaranteed minimum income instead of a minimum wage might be a better way to redistribute wealth is a good one but is there the political will to ever make that happen?