October 2, 2017
Business lobbyists oppose plans in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. to increase the minimum wage to $15, claiming they will destroy jobs. And in the lead-up to the Ontario legislature’s looming vote on the matter, a rash of new reports has been issued by businesses or business-friendly think tanks to buttress these claims, including from the Fraser Institute, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the C.D. Howe Institute, and TD Bank. Oddly, an Ontario agency with no special labour economics expertise (the Financial Accountability Office) even joined the dogpile, with a somewhat more balanced but still negative forecast. The studies predict job losses measured in the tens or hundreds of thousands.
There are numerous flaws in these predictions, exposed in detail by other economists (including Michal Rozworski, Jordan Brennan, and Trevor Tombe). None of the studies provides new insight into the employment impacts of minimum wages; instead, they selectively invoke previous academic research in back-of-the-envelope calculations of what could happen if those previous findings were valid.