TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/17/13 -- The Provincial government will announce today an advisory panel to study a possible minimum wage increase in 2014 and to make recommendations within 6 months. The panel was promised in the 2013 budget after widespread mobilizing in cities across Ontario calling for a $14 minimum wage.
The current minimum wage of $10.25 puts workers 19% below the poverty line. While food, transit and rent costs have soared, the minimum wage has been frozen for over 3 years. "We all know how high rent is and how expensive food and other basics have become," says Eddy Lantz, an ACORN leader. "For over 750,000 workers in Ontario, getting paid $10.25 means having to choose between rent and food."
The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is calling for an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $14 - the amount in 2013 needed to bring the minimum wage 10% above the poverty line for a single person working 35 hours a week.
"The panel will tell us what we already know - people are struggling to make ends meet," says Marcelle Daniels, a Workers' Action Centre member. "We deserve a raise! The minimum wage needs to go up to $14 now."
This issue touches workers in cities across Ontario, as communities struggle with the rise of precarious and low-wage jobs. A recent study from United Way Toronto & McMaster University found only 50% of workers in the GTA and Hamilton have access to full-time jobs. Cities across Ontario are joining in the call for a $14 minimum wage.
"This is about the health of our communities," says Yvonne Kelly of Freedom 90, Union of Food Bank and Emergency Meal Program Volunteers. "If we want to build a strong economy, we need people to have money in their pockets to take care of their families and to support local businesses."
The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is coordinated by ACORN, Freedom 90, Mennonite New Life Centre, OCAP, Ontario Campaign 2000, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Put Food in the Budget, Social Planning Toronto, Toronto and York Region Labour Council and Workers' Action Centre.
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