Ontario’s official opposition is demanding Barrie Liberal MPP Ann Hoggarth apologize for comments she made about small business owners and the minimum wage hike.

During question period at Queen’s Park on Monday, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke Progressive Conservative MPP John Yakabuski called out Hoggarth.

"She told business owners that they shouldn't be operating if they can't afford it.  A member of this government thinks struggling business owners should just shut up and close their doors. Mr. Speaker, is that the official position of this government, or will the premier insist the member of Barrie apologize to all struggling business owners across this province?”

During a news conference on Thursday with fellow Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn, Hoggarth told the crowd that employers who say they would go out of business because of the minimum wage hike should reassess whether they should be in business at all.

“If you’re going out of business on the backs of your employees because you can’t afford to pay them this, then perhaps you should reassess your business plan and reassess whether you should be an employer at all,” she said at the new conference.

Hoggarth was quiet on Monday and didn’t respond to Yakabuski’s comments in the legislature. Instead, Premier Kathleen Wynne defended the Barrie MPP.

“I am 100 per cent certain that the member for Barrie supports small business in her community and across this province. She also supports a fair society, where people can earn a living wage, Mr. Speaker, and to look after themselves and look after their families."

Hoggarth did issue a statement to CTV Barrie after Question Period. In it she says, “I know how important small, local businesses are to our community and our economy. I also know how important it is to stand up for the most vulnerable workers in our society who try to raise a family on a minimum wage.”

Hoggarth’s comment set off a fire storm of responses on social media.