It’s Just My Opinion: 2018 Ontario Minimum Wage Increase

Posted on January 16 2018

It’s Just My Opinion: 2018 Ontario Minimum Wage Increase

Hello..
Many of you have met me over the past 23 years, and many of you have been in contact with me via email or social media. Happy New Year to all!
On January 11, 2018 I saw this news flash, WALMART ABRUPTLY CLOSES SEVERAL SAMS CLUB STORES WITH LAYOFFS IN THE THOUSANDS! My immediate reaction was, WOW! Yes, I said to myself, thank goodness this happened in the USA and not here in our beloved Canada, that is, so far. Thousands of staff just had a major jolt that will be life changing for them, as a Happy New Year to YOU! This seems to be how BIG business does things, I guess. ABRUPTLY. NO NOTICE. 
https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/walmart-abruptly-closes-several-sams-club-stores-lays-off-thousands/ar-AAuzd4Y
Here in our country, Canada, we all seem to be selective as to where we choose to shop. It may be your favorite grocery store, but you may buy a product at another grocery store because the price is amazing. These are usually called “lost leaders”. Competition can be a good thing for businesses. It allows individual businesses to set their own standards. That is exactly what I strive for with West End Kids. Whether you shop at our Ottawa location, or shop online, I am determined to offer the best of the best to win your loyalty. With that being said, the most important part is the service West End Kids offers. This translates into the team of awesome staff I have. I have hired more than 100 + students over the last 23 years, who are either in University, College or High School. I have given them the best experience and tools in customer service which they will take away with them for their future endeavors.
As of January 1, 2018, minimum wage has gone from $11.60 to $14. That is a 21% increase. As an independent small business owner, and there are many of us in Ontario, this has stopped us in our tracks. How are we going to move forward because everything else has gone up and continues to, in regards to rent, utilities and everything else along with it, to run a business.
One of West End Kids’ success is our staff. We educate and train each one about the products we sell, so they are equipped with the right information when helping our customers’ in their selection.
Over the past 23 years, it is rare to come into our store and not find someone to assist you. This now brings me to the sad reality as to how will I move forward with this drastic increase in minimum wage. It’s too late to rehash about how it should or could have been done. It has been done. In the type of industry I am in, the products I sell all have MSRP - Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Pricing. I cannot raise my prices, like a coffee shop, restaurant, grocery store, and so on. If I do, I will become less competitive, which will affect my overall business. There will be some changes made at WEK in relation to the amount of hours I am able to give each one of my amazing students. However, It is a fine line not to jeopardize the outstanding customer service West End Kids is known for.
I am also having a hard time understanding the rationale behind business owners who are able to increase their products/services’ prices in order to compensate for the raise in the minimum wages. Many of these businesses have come out and said they have no choice but to cut their payroll, benefits, breaks. This doesn’t make sense to me. We all know that prices are on the rise. We have all started to feel it in our wallets. With rising prices, the taxes collected rise as well to the benefit of the government ONLY.
I totally agree that minimum wage should go up, but not the way it did. My hands are tied. Small businesses, like mine, that sell products that are subject MRSP, are in the same boat. It would have been much easier to have a gradual move into this increase. For example, There should have been some type of compensation in rebates for those businesses who hire students, for example.
West End Kids will continue to offer the best of the best in every way possible, but it is another stab to try and weaken us. After 23 years of surviving the many economic setbacks that have occurred in Canada, we will continue to march along, possibly with blinders on, and provide children with year round protection from the elements.
#shoplocal #wekottawa

Bank of Canada's predictions:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bank-of-canada-minimum-wage-1.4469912

There are some very interesting statistics documented on the Government of Canada’s website. Keep in mind that Ontario is the province with the most Independent businesses by a long shot!

ONTARIO 2016

Small (1–99)

Medium (100–499)

Large (500+)

TOTAL

 

407,175

8,437

1,189

416,801


 https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/eng/h_03018.html 

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