With a provincial election just a year away, Ontario’s governing Liberals have introduced two controversial and divisive ideas they say will ease poverty in this province.

In May, the Wynne government announced it would substantially hike the minimum wage to $14 an hour by Jan. 1, and to $15 an hour by 2019 from its current level of $11.40 an hour. That represents a 31.6 per cent increase in 19 months.

Poverty advocates have long called for a $15 an hour minimum wage; Premier Wynne claims the pay hike will help millions of Ontarians.

Critics, and especially small businesses, worry it will put many out of business because they can’t afford the higher wages.