News / Ottawa

CANCEA’s minimum wage analysis dismissed by Labour minister

The Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ report, released on Monday, garnered criticism from both government and economists.

Hydro rates, inflation and a boost to Ontario's minimum wage are expected to substantially increase the cost of operating Orillia's recreation facility

Frank Matys/Metroland

Hydro rates, inflation and a boost to Ontario's minimum wage are expected to substantially increase the cost of operating Orillia's recreation facility

The Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) released their report on Bill 148, the province’s proposed increase to the minimum wage—but its gloomy outlook is unlikely to sway the government away from its goals.

“The report is not complete,” said provincial labour minister Kevin Flynn. “It opens up talking about the risks and the rewards. It actually agrees with us – it says there is congruence in the opinion that something needs to be done about those people who are working 35, 40 hours a week and living in poverty.”

CANCEA released a partial, interim study on Monday that claimed that 185,000 jobs could be lost because of Bill 148. However, their claims were met with immediate criticism, as they did not release complete data sets, and did not release a methodological overview until Tuesday afternoon.

Broadly speaking, the report predicted both increased costs and job losses — a conclusion that University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe said “should be a red flag.”

“If there’s a minimum wage debate going on, it isn’t this,” tweeted University of Victory professor Rob Gillizeau. “This report is junk.” 

Serious issues were raised with the report’s conclusions on Monday. Among them, the claim that the bill would result in a 0.7 per cent increase household spending, translating to $1,300 — a figure that would require average household spending to be somewhere in the range of $185,000 per year.

In an updated presentation released on Tuesday, the $1,300 figure had been removed from CANCEA’s analysis.

Flynn identified a number of areas that he felt the report was overlooking “Where does it talk about the injection in to the economy?” he asked. “Where does it talk about increased consumer spending? Where does it talk about these people being able to work one job, instead of two or three?”

“There’s nothing in the interim report that will change anyone’s mind.”

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