Ontario's minimum wage workers below poverty line: CUPE

Labour ministry wraps up minimum wage consultations this week
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 11/04/2013

Ontario’s minimum wage earners are struggling to make ends meet, according to a report from the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

On Nov. 1, CUPE submitted its report to the labour ministry’s minimum wage advisory panel. In it, the union said a full-time employee working for minimum wage earns an income 21 per cent below the poverty line. As such, the minimum wage should be increased to $14 an hour, up from the current $10.25, CUPE said.

“Raising the minimum wage isn’t just good for low-wage earners, it’s good for the economy. History shows that raising the minimum wage creates an economic boost and creates jobs,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, chair of CUPE Ontario’s university workers’ co-ordinating committee. “This is an equality issue. Minimum wage earners are disproportionately women, racialized workers, people with disabilities and new immigrants.”

Much of the province’s recent job growth is due in large part to part-time and casual work which often pay minimum rates, the union said, estimating that about 534,000 Ontarians earn minimum wage.

Earlier this summer, the Ministry of Labour appointed a panel to assess its minimum wage rubric. Currently, the only provinces without a formal mechanism for calculating minimum wage are Ontario, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

The MOL’s advisory panel wraps up consultations with the public this week, and is expected to report back on its findings this winter.

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