Services accomodate increase

AMS to spend around $81,000 on Ontario minimum wage hike

Ontario’s minimum wage has increased from $8.75 to $11.00 since 2004.
Ontario’s minimum wage has increased from $8.75 to $11.00 since 2004.

The Ontario government is raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour, effective June 1.

The boost is expected to cost the AMS approximately $81,000.

The current minimum wage in Ontario is $10.25, making this a 75-cent increase. Ontario will now have the highest minimum wage in Canada aside from Nunavut, where the minimum wage is also $11.

Since 2005, the minimum wage in Ontario has risen by $3.55. Until this year, it hadn’t been raised since 2010.

Future increases in minimum wage will be tied to the rate of inflation, according to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who announced the increase last week.

Instead of taking place on June 1, changes will be announced April 1 and take effect Oct. 1.

According to AMS Vice-President (Operations) Nicola Plummer, the AMS will see a cost increase of $81,066.28 next year, assuming the level of service does not change.

Earlier this year, the AMS Board of Directors conducted a review of salaries.

Their review was based on an understanding of the minimum wage as $10.25.

Salaries for full-time employees of the AMS are determined by the minimum wage multiplied by the hours per week required by the position.

“They have already met to determine if they will be changing any salaries given this announcement and have determined there is no need for a change,” Plummer, Comm ’13, said in an email statement to the Journal.

She said that the AMS Pub Services (TAPS) and Walkhome will be most affected by the wage increase.

TAPS employs eight people in managerial positions and approximately 115 wage workers.

Walkhome employs two managers and approximately 160 wage workers.

Liam Faught, human resources manager at Common Ground, does not foresee any problems for his service.

“Like a lot of AMS services, we pay out quite a substantial amount in wages, so it would definitely change how the budget breaks down a little bit, but CoGro’s a really strong service so … I have full confidence it could be integrated into the budget next year,” Faught, ArtSci ’14, said.

“Every year you strike a balance between staffing enough people … to serve all the customers we have … [and having] excess people, so the goal with wages is always to kind of trim the fat and run a really lean operation,” he said.

“It’s a numbers game, really. You look at how much you have to spend in wages, what the demands are of the service, and kind of figure it out from there.”

Stephanie Jackson, a student working part-time at a store on Princess St. and a former employee of Common Ground, doesn’t think much will change following the wage increase.

“Being older and wiser and having had more jobs, it doesn’t mean much coming in the next six months or so when the cost of living essentially will go up,” Jackson, ArtSci ’14, said.

“It’ll feel good at first, maybe I’ll have a few more drinks at the bar, but honestly, nothing substantial will change.”

She said that for anyone relying on a minimum wage position to pay their bills, the change was essentially meaningless, as the cost of living would always be rising.

“If you’re a person who’s relying on minimum wage to pay for rent, utilities, car, food, traveling expenses, all those things ... you’re never going to be in a position where minimum wage helps you live more than your means,” Jackson said.


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