Raising the minimum wage to $14 per hour in 2018 reduced the racialized wage gap, particularly for women, according to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Amid rising employment, the study showed the estimated increases — on an hourly basis — for Black women (4.9 per cent) and other racialized women (4.7 per cent) outpaced those for non-racialized men (slightly more than three per cent).
Among employees benefiting from the raise, 70 per cent were adults. As well, the study found a sharp increase in the amount of minimum-wage workers aged 25 and older between 2017 and 2018, from 41 per cent to 50 per cent.
“The results are clear: raising the floor benefited all workers and reduced the racialized wage gap — especially for Black women — without lowering employment levels,” said Grace-Edward Galabuzi, the study’s co-author and an associate professor of politics and public administration at Ryerson University, in a press release.
While business lobbyists’ predicted the wage rise would lead to massive job losses, the study found employment increased by 1.7 per cent in 2018 and by 2.8 per cent in 2019. As well, it found the average hourly wage rate across Ontario increased by more than three per cent between 2017 and 2018. And all industries with lower-than-average wages, except for agriculture and manufacturing, had increases in employment.
“No worker should struggle to put food on the table, yet that is too often the case for many workers employed in minimum-wage jobs,” said Mohammed Hashim, executive director at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. “This study shows how raising the minimum wage betters the lives of all workers, especially those who are racialized and who are women. Addressing racism in Canada includes addressing inequality at work.”