AT LULU & LAVIGNE HOME STUDIO in
Hamilton, Ont., owner Heather Coward
is feeling the pinch. She’s trapped between
wanting to compensate her employees well
and the restraints of a tight budget, made
tighter this past June when Ontario’s hourly minimum wage went from $10.25 to $11
Even though Coward’s two employees
work one day each a week, the 7. 3 per cent
increase is very hard for her to swallow.
“Independent retailers are working on a
pretty slim margin as it is,” she said. Added
to rising costs for rent, hydro and internet
service, she’s unable to grant the addition-
al pay hike she’d planned on giving her em-
ployees as a reward and motivation for
their hard work. She’s eyeing the future
with trepidation and wondering aloud how
other retailers manage.
Jean Grant, the owner of The Toy Shop
in Peterborough, Ont., has sold toys,
games and books in the downtown core
for over 30 years. She has five employees.
From coast to coast, minimum wages are creeping ever
higher, placing Canadian minimum-wage workers
among the highest paid in the world. But do salary
increases inevitably spell hardship for independent
retailers? We asked business journalist Susanne Ruder
to investigate and determine whether retailers are really
feeling the pinch.
Illustration by Jing Wei
RISE ON THE