Ontario Activists Push for Living Wage
March 6, 2014
Union members and pro-worker activists took to the heart of Toronto’s retail district Feb. 15 to call on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to raise the provincial minimum wage.
Last month, Wynne announced she would bump the wage from CA$10.25 to CA$11 – the first minimum wage hike in four years – effective June 1.
While welcomed by fair wage supporters, activists say CA$11 still isn’t enough for many Ontario workers.
“An CA$11 minimum wage will still mean that low-wage workers have to rely on taxpayer support, not fair wages, to escape the poverty trap,” said OFL President Sid Ryan.
The federation is calling for a CA$14 minimum wage, which would bring Ontario workers 10 percent above the poverty line.
Not only are low-wages bad for your bank account – it’s bad for your health, say leading health care providers in Ontario.
“Our experience confirms research evidence that working poor people in Ontario have higher rates of chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, bronchitis and migraines,” said an editorial signed by six health care associations supporting a CA$14 minimum wage. “At a wage of CA$11 an hour, it would still be tough to eat healthy.”
More than 20 members of Toronto Local 353 came out to the rally in support of the CA$14 wage.
Even though his members wouldn’t be directly effect by the wage hike, Business Manager Steven Martin said that unions fight to raise standards for all working people, not just union members.
“It might not affect our trade directly, but it will affect our friends, family, neighbors and community,” he said.
Click here for more information on the campaign.