Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 16(1) August 2020 : 95-110.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2020.26288
Research Paper

Exploring the Results of the Ontario Home Care Minimum Wage Change

Alexia Olaizola, Oliver Loertscher and Arthur Sweetman


Background: In 2014, Ontario increased its "minimum wage" for personal support workers (PSWs) in publicly funded home care.

Objective: The objective of this article is to determine the short-term results of this policy for home care PSWs' wages, hours and job stability.

Methods: This study uses descriptive graphs and ordinary least squares and unconditional quantile regressions, using PSWs across Canada as comparison groups.

Results: Pre-policy nominal wages for Ontario home care PSWs stagnated, whereas real wages declined. The policy increased home care PSWs' wages without noticeably affecting hours or job stability. However, wages were already increasing for low-wage home care workers in the rest of Canada.

Conclusions: Ontario exercises monopsony power in the home care market and, before the wage increase, kept nominal wages stable compared to rising real and nominal wages in the rest of Canada. This PSW-specific wage increase did not represent a drastic change relative to market conditions.



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