With a new premier installed as leader of a party that is making the electorate and the opposition a little restive there might be opportunity for Ontarians to see an increase in minimum wage. This item from left-of-centre magazine Rabble makes the case for the economic benefits of a raise to $11.75 per hour from the current minimum of $10.25 per hour.
Boost the minimum wage, boost the economy
A coalition of labour and anti-poverty groups are saying $14.00 per hour is more like a living wage. With over half a million workers in Ontario trying to provide for themselves on the present minimum wage you could expect resisting any increase to be a vote loser for any premier.
Action now to raise Ontario’s minimum wage acorncanada.ca
Counter-arguments to minimum wage increases are typically about the damage done to small businesses, prices and competitiveness. End-of-the-world stuff.
That makes the clear enunciation of arguments in favour of better wages in terms of economic benefit welcome and useful. The minimum wage in Ontario was first introduced back in the 1970s. When you adjust the current minimum wage for inflation and currency fluctuation you find it to be worth just over $2.00 per hour. In other words, it’s the same as it was a middle-aged person’s lifetime ago. What else is? The price of clothing, gas, electricity, a haircut, a bus ticket, food, rent? No, they have all risen. If there is disinterest in the moral argument for living wages in certain quarters then perhaps the economic case needs to be made more often …and more forcefully.
This last link is to a piece in the New Yorker that reflects on the situation in the United States regarding minimum wage and includes a few really interesting links to external references. President Obama thought enough of the issue to include it in his last state of the union address. It isn’t like he has turned out to be an anti-business president. American minimum wages are even lower than those in Canada.
The case for a higher minimum wage newyorker.com
Hopefully Kathleen Wynn, Ontario’s new premier is open to increasing her literacy in the minimum wage vs living wage debate and will support lifting up the level of survival of working people in her province.
See also: (288) Living wages