Labour Studies Index

How $15 an hour minimum wage will affect Indigenous Ontarians

Document type Web page
Author Macdonald, David
Date 2017-08-01


Ontario announced plans in May to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour by January 2019. In my recent report, Ontario Needs a Raise, I calculated who would benefit most from this overdue wage hike, but Indigenous workers were not included because the Labour Force Survey (LFS) public use microdata file (PUMF) I was using did not specify Indigenous identity. Now that this data is available, let’s look at those numbers too. Stats record show there were 116,000 Indigenous workers in Ontario in the first six months of 2017, and the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) showed the province is home to more working-age Indigenous adults than any other in Canada (2016 census figures aren’t out yet). Due to gaps in the LFS, we don’t have figures for on-reserve workers, which represent roughly a quarter of all Indigenous workers in Ontario, almost all of whom are First Nations. The LFS also excludes self-employed workers. In general, 27% of Indigenous workers in Ontario will see a raise when the minimum wage hits $15 an hour. This is heavily weighted to First Nations workers, 30% of whom will see a bump to their income; 22% of Métis workers will see their wages rise, which is close to the overall Ontario average (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) of 23%.