Tag Archives: Ontario

(1214) Bagels & Bentleys: undercover with the temps


Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle meets Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed in today’s Toronto Star. The paper sent a writer to work at a large industrial bakery in Toronto recently.  Her findings should shock us.
Wages are low.  The pace is fast.  Safety is a hit-and-miss affair in a profitable establishment making bread products for corporate clients.  There has been loss of life at the plant where most of the workers are female newcomers.  Their employer has received grants, loans and praise from the government.  The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board gives them rebates.  Through their lawyer the owners say that safety is important.
Temps pick their wages up in cash at a payday lending office thirty-five minutes away by bus.  Their employer drives a Bentley and lives in a mansion.
On Twitter alone, mentions of this feature have grown steadily all day.  This feature deserves a wide audience and is exactly the kind of reportage the Star should be coming up with.
Undercover in temp nation

(1210) Survivors in poverty


We went looking around online for articles about natural disasters and poverty, specifically Hurricane Harvey, earlier this week.  A couple of strong feature articles appeared in due course.  Yet, we were unexpectedly distracted and found a rather poignant feeling was created by a piece on  survivors of a different kind of horror and disaster.
Survivors of the Holocaust have called Toronto home since immediately after World War II.  Now, in the final years of their lives, it emerges that many have lived in poverty.  Truncated family connections, disrupted life courses, multiple migrations, language difficulties and emotional problems seem to have exerted themselves to the detriment of Holocaust survivors.  The Toronto Star took a look at their situation this month in the item below.
Surviving again: how needy Holocaust survivors cope with poverty. A quarter of Canada’s Holocaust survivor population lives in poverty
thestar.com

(1208) Housing repair money


Housing has been an issue in Peel Region, this blog’s home ground, for decades.  Waiting lists are long and there are issues with building condition.  Money from the province of Ontario is no doubt going to be welcome.  This article raises the question of distribution as Toronto appears to have been allocated much of the anticipated funding, with Peel and other places less firmly mentioned.  Peel Living, a social housing provider, is the Greater Toronto Area’s number three housing agency.
No mention of Peel Region’s share in Ontario social housing funding pledge. Half of $657 million going to Toronto
bramptonguardian.com

(1200) Towering


Three pieces about the big concrete buildings.  Two practical, one more emotional, human.  Important stuff.
Zoning changes give new life to Toronto’s ‘apartment neighbourhoods’: Hume. Hundreds of apartment highrises in Toronto were built with assumption that residents “would drive where they wanted to go, so services weren’t necessary”
thestar.com
More than just ‘neighbours’. As the seniors in her building begin to leave her life, Katarina Ohlsson tries to find the word that encapsulates their importance
theglobeandmail.com
Towering ambitions
theglobeandmail.com
image: Craig Sunter via Flickr/CC

 

(1196) Unequal Ontario [CCPA report]


Ontario needs to find a better balance when it comes to wages and economic relationships.  A new report finds richer Ontarians doing well while their low income neighbours keep sliding.
Labour market doing ‘no favours’ for low income families
thestar.com
Poor Ontario families getting poorer. New research says bottom half of families in Ontario are earning less, while richer families earn more
cbc.ca/news
Ontario’s middle and working class families are losing ground
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – links to 32-page .pdf file
Minimum wage hike needed as half of Ontarians see wages shrink
huffingtonpost.ca
Ontario minimum wage increase good for workers and business: economist
bnn.ca (video 8:14)

(1190) Loblaws wages


Why don’t big biz bosses look on paying living wages as one of the challenges of being in business?  You know, instead of something to carp about.  Why can’t our corporate commanders set living wages as a high level objective, apply the needed thought, creativity and resources and, well, just do it?  Or, is it that they just don’t like the idea of living wages to begin with?
Galen Weston knows paying a living wage is bad for capitalism. A full-time minimum wage worker takes home $25,877. In Toronto where rent averages $2,000 a month, that means living in poverty
torontoist.com
image: vintage ad from Jamie via Flickr/CC

(1178) This week in Ontario poverty


Here’s a hint or two at what poverty was like this week in Canada’s richest, most populous province.
Job vacancies in Windsor-Sarnia some of the lowest paying in Ontario
windsorstar.com
Hamilton’s poverty activists clash with business groups, Tory MPPs over labour reforms
hamiltonnews.com
Women, recent immigrants to see big benefits from minimum wage increase.  Of the 633,000 people who would receive raises in Toronto, 58 per cent are women and 17 per cent are recent immigrants
thestar.com
Demanding a fair share. Protecting worker’s rights in the on-demand service economy
ccpa.ca (links to 26-page .pdf file)
image: Peter Vanderheyden via Flickr/CC

(1173) Australia minimum


Australia’s minimum wage has risen by an amount just ahead of inflation and so is now $18.29 per hour.  Living wage territory, just about.
One hundred Australian dollars is worth one hundred Canadian dollars and six cents, by way of comparison.  This feature discusses the increase from several angles, most of which will be familiar to Canadians.
Fair Work Commission rules minimum wage to rise by $22 a week
smh.com.au
Shrewd businesses support $15 minimum wage and decent work
thestar.com

(1171) Bike up the GTA


Cycling for transportation is easy on your personal finances and your carbon footprint.  Scale that to the population of your community with, yes, a little help from the Infrastructure Department.
What Mississauga and Scarborough need to encourage more cycling in suburban areas. Advocates say separated bikes lanes are needed in both areas to make cyclists feel safe
cbc.ca/news
image: Mikael Colville-Andersen via Flickr/CC