Home > Uncategorized > Ontario’s New Minimum Wage Will Be a Hardship for Christian Stores

Ontario’s New Minimum Wage Will Be a Hardship for Christian Stores

CBC News graphic

Typically, charity shops or ministry-focused retail stores don’t pay all that well. People sign up because they are on board with the objective and often treat the paycheque as secondary. So many stores are able to pay minimum wage without employee objection. It’s just understood that the money isn’t there to do better.

So for stores in Ontario, the change from the present $11.40 per hour minimum to $14.00 per hour in January (and $15.00 the year following) is going to be a major hardship that will undboutedly result in cutbacks such as:

  • Stores which normally have 3 people per shift cutting back to 2 people
  • Stores currently open from 9:00 to 6:00 cutting back to 9:30 to 5:30 (or even fewer hours)
  • Stores with salaried staff having those managerial positions committed to more time on the sales floor, resulting in fewer part time or occasional hours
  • Stores for whom the model just doesn’t work having to close down.

The jump from $11.40 to $14.00 in just 7 months is going be a 22.8% increase. Remember that for most stores rent and wages are the two highest cost factors. Stores can recover this in the ways noted above, or they can:

  • Exceed MSRPs on some items
  • Curtail discounts on sale product (i.e. remainders) to create a higher margin
  • Cut back on advertising
  • Turn down the lights, heat, air-conditioning
  • Place volunteer help alongside paid help (one Toronto store is currently doing this)
  • Curtail discounts to churches and Christian organizations
  • Try to leverage better discounts from suppliers on new releases or restock offers

At the end of 2018 wages will jump again, representing 31.6% increase in in 21 months.


A similar situation is taking place in Alberta; starting in October of this year. There the initial step is to only $13.60 starting from an already higher base of $12.20.

Some other provinces are expected to follow.

Alberta Minimum Wage (from the province’s Ministry of Labour website):

Footnote: In Ontario a small increase from 11.40 to 11.60 had been scheduled for October 1st of this year. Finding out if that is still the case on the province’s Ministry of Labour website proved totally futile. 

Also, remember that in Ontario, branches of government are not responsible for notifying business owners of changes in the law. (Witness the situation a few years back when the “move over” laws on the provinces 400-series highways resulted in drivers receiving large fines for breaking a law they didn’t know existed.) It’s up to store owners to be aware of the situation. Stores in Ontario are also required to post notification of the wage rates in a staff area, again subject to large, punitive fines if they don’t. This news story, only affecting one province, received minimum media exposure on the day it was announced. It’s possible that many store owners don’t yet realize this is being passed.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. muscletongue3000
    June 1, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    even Christian workers in Christian book stores deserve a wage to survive on!

    • June 1, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      I hear you, and I don’t disagree. It’s just that the money isn’t always the motivating factor. But the stores must pay the going rate, and as I’ve shown, they may end up having to cut back hours or staffing levels which means workers are no further ahead.

  2. Jaret Voce
    June 1, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Hi Paul,

    The previously planned min wage increase will be happening on Oct 1st.

    Link: https://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2017/05/proposed-changes-to-ontarios-employment-and-labour-laws.html

    This is a potentially disastrous development that will lead to adjustments in hours, payroll hours, and closures among many small businesses throughout Ontario. This is simply another factor that’s combining to increasing the cost of doing business, others include expansion of CPP, increased hydro expenses, and cap-and-trade impacts.

    In addition to these self inflected economic wounds, a renegotiation of NAFTA is set to begin shortly. Many of the products we carry make their way into Canada by the way of America (either American based publishers/suppliers), and with a protectionist American leader this has the ability to become an additional headache.

    This is an extremely short sighted proposal which has overwhelming odds of hurting Ontario citizens and economy. All from a government that’s low in the polls and hoping to secure another mandate before the negative impacts become apparent to the electorate.


    • June 2, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Thanks. Well said. Over the years it seems that everything the provincial Liberals has done have been anti-business.

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