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Number of Ontario workers making minimum wage more than doubles in 8 years: study

TORONTO – Nine per cent of Ontario’s workforce is working for minimum wage — more than double what it was nearly a decade before, a new study shows.

The study released Tuesday by the Wellesley Institute, a policy research organization in Toronto, is based on Statistics Canada data from 2003 and 2011.

In 2003, 4.3 per cent of the province’s workers earned minimum wage, the data show.

Certain population groups — such as women, recent immigrants and visible minority workers — were more likely to be working for minimum wage eight years later, according to the study.

More than 10 per cent of women worked for minimum wage in 2011, compared with 7.6 per cent of men, it said.

And while young people made up the bulk of minimum wage workers in 2011, the data show nearly 40 per cent were 25 or older.

“Over the period between 2003 and 2011, a great deal has changed in the Ontario labour market,” the Wellesley Institute said in its report.

“An increase in the minimum wage will raise the floor for all Ontario employees,” the organization said.

“Since greater shares of recent immigrants and racialized Ontarians work for minimum wage, an increase in the minimum wage would contribute to closing those gaps,” it said.

It would also contribute to closing the wage gap between men and women, it said.

Minimum wage is $10.25 an hour in Ontario, on par with British Columbia.

In the remaining provinces and territories it ranges from $9.95 to $11.