January 29, 2014

Raise the Minimum Wage: Indexation not enough to bring working families out of poverty

Monday, January 27th, 2014
RELEASE: Indexation not enough to bring working families out of poverty

(Guelph, Ontario) - The Raise the Minimum Wage campaign in the city of Guelph is deeply concerned with today’s release of the Ontario Minimum Wage Advisory Panel’s recommendations. This concern comes from the fact that the report makes no recommendations that would bring working Ontarians out of poverty.

“Since the beginning, minimum wage workers, anti-poverty groups, unions and community organizations have been demanding that the minimum wage be increased to $14.” said Guelph Raise the Wage organizer Denise Martins. “This number was carefully calculated as the minimum amount necessary to lift workers above the poverty line. This demand was also coupled with the recommendation that the $14 must be indexed to cost of living. Although we commend the panel’s intentions in agreeing to index the minimum wage, and we see it as a victory for the thousands of Ontarians that have been raising their voice around this issue, it simply does not solve the problems of working people living in poverty.”

Currently in Ontario, one in 10 workers rely on the minimum wage in order to make ends meet; and the reality is that this issue is no longer a young worker’s issue. Between 2004 and 2012, the number of minimum wage workers aged 35 years and over has increased by 10% (rising from 17% to 27%).  The current minimum wage of $10.25, which has been frozen for four years, means that a worker can work full-time and still remain 25% below the poverty line.

“Some retail and service sector jobs, are already compensating their employees above the poverty line, such as Costco” said Martins. “However, we believe that all working people deserve a chance to bring themselves out of poverty. It is time for the Ontario government to side with the everyday Ontarian by raising the minimum wage to $14 per hour.”

The Raise the MInimum Wage campaign is an Ontario wide campaign of anti-poverty, community and workers organizations.  The Guelph campaign is being supported by the Guelph and District Labour Council and the University of Guelph Central Student Association, among other local organizations and unions.  The campaign plans to continue actions in Guelph, coordinated with other communities across the province, with the next day of action being February 15th.

For more information contact:
Denise Martins  (full-time minimum wage worker, Raise the Wage Guelph organizer, Ontario Federation of Labour VP Young Workers)
519 803 2508 (cell)  raisethewageguelph@gmail.com
or visit: www.raisetheminimumwage.ca

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