Minimum Wage

Ontario workers are struggling to get by working 2 or 3 low paying jobs. No one should work full-time and yet still live in poverty. When we started campaigning to raise the minimum wage in 2013, the general minimum wage in this province had been frozen for the previous 4 years. In fact, it remained the same for 12 of the 20 years between 1995 to 2015.

Workers’ Action CApril 15, 2016 Ministry of Labour Rallyentre members and our allies successfully pressured the government to raise the minimum wage to $11 on June 1, 2014. In addition to this 75-cent increase, we also won an annual indexation to the cost of living so that the minimum wage gets adjusted to maintain its value. Currently, the general minimum wage is $11.40, and will be adjusted upwards by 20 cents on October 1, 2017.

However, this still leaves full-time workers more than 17% below the poverty line. As for students under the age of 18, liquor servers and farmworkers, the gap is even bigger because Ontario’s outdated labour laws allow them to be exploited through sub-minimum wage provisions and exemptions. Currently, the sub-minimum wage rates are as follows:

  • Students under the age of 18 receive $10.70 – will receive $10.90 as of October 1, 2017;
  • Liquor servers receive $9.90 – will receive $10.10 as of October 1, 2017; and
  • Farmworkers are excluded from all minimum wage provisions of the Employment Standards Act, including any restrictions on hours of work, or provisions for overtime and vacation pay.

We need a minimum wage of $15 right now to bring workers and their families 10% above the poverty line, based on the Low Income Measure. We also believe that the minimum wage should be calculated based on a 35-hour work week, since that is the average length of a work week in Ontario.

This is why we are part of the Fight for $15 and Fairness, a provincial campaign that seeks to raise the minimum wage to $15 and win labour law reform. Follow actions and updates from across Ontario by liking the Fight for $15 and Fairness Facebook page here. Check out 15andfairness.org for information, provincial updates, and to get involved!

Resources

$15 Minimum Wage = $5 Billion Boost Fact Sheet;

Still Working on the Edge;

Raise the Minimum Wage - Campaign Backgrounder ;

Submission to the Minimum Wage Advisory Panelmin wage logo