Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will directly benefit more than one in five Ontario workers. The benefits will be broad-based, and will help a wide variety of different workers in different sectors.

Women, younger workers, recent immigrants, and part-time, temporary and precarious workers are more likely to be paid less than $15 an hour. So a greater number of them will benefit from a minimum wage increase. However, many other workers will also benefit.

In fact, more adult workers aged 25-54 will benefit than young workers under 25. And contrary to some arguments from opponents about impacts on small employers, employers with more than 500 workers have by far the most low-paid employees. The majority of these large employers are in the retail, accommodation and food, and building and business support sectors (including cleaners). These employers can afford to pay their workers a decent wage. These figures are for Ontario, but the impact of a minimum wage hike will be similar in other provinces.

There will be other indirect benefits as well. Increases in the minimum wage will also help ratchet up wages, especially for other relatively lower-paid workers. Those at the top might not benefit, and might have to cut back on their own compensation. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing!