Ontario is considering measures like exempting the first $450,000 of small-business income from taxes — as is done in Manitoba — to cushion the cost of moving to a $15 minimum wage.
Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Small Business Minister Jeff Leal said that’s one option as the province prepares an assistance package to be unveiled this fall before the minimum wage rises to $14 in January and $15 a year later.
Another is to borrow an idea from the United States, which sets aside 25 per cent of government procurement contracts for small businesses, Leal said in Bobcaygeon, a cottage country town northeast of Toronto.
“In terms of small business, we’re looking at some of the best practices in North America,” he told reporters during an appearance with Premier Kathleen Wynne at Kawartha Dairy, which is expanding its refrigerated warehouse with $311,200 in government aid.
“I’m looking at all options…we are leaving no stone unturned,” Leal added.
The pledge to boost the minimum wage from $11.40 has proved controversial with business groups, which warn small operations may have to close, raise prices or scale back workers’ hours and cut jobs to cope with a 32 per cent increase to $15.