March 30, 2010. The Good Jobs for All Coalition is celebrating the scheduled increase on March 31, 2010 in Ontario’s minimum wage to $10.25 an hour, up 0.75 cents from $9.50.
Many groups in the Good Jobs for All Coalition were leaders in the ‘$10 Minimum Wage’ campaign, which successfully pressured the Ontario government to increase the minimum wage in 2007. Although the campaign demanded the minimum wage jump immediately from $8 to $10, the Ontario government staggered in the increase over three years.
“It’s about time the Ontario government moved us above the $10 per hour minimum wage milestone,” says John Cartwright, President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. “A decent minimum wage is about bringing fairness and dignity to hard working people who deserve to bring home a wage that lets them raise their families, pay for housing, and live with decency. Tomorrow, low wage earners across Ontario will find it at little bit easier to survive in one of the most expensive cities in Canada.”
“The ‘$10 Minimum Wage’ campaign was one of the first campaigns that brought together unions and community groups in Ontario in a powerful way,” says Tam Goossen, Co-Chair of the Good Jobs for All Coalition. “The hard economic recession we’re going through is a powerful reminder that campaigning for the minimum wage increase was one of the most forward thinking initiatives we’ve ever been a part of. We are building a safety net for the million plus low-wage earners struggling to make ends meet in Ontario today.”
“The ‘$10 Minimum Wage campaign was one of those grassroots initiatives where workers and communities across Toronto stood up and collectively demanded this change, and in 2010 we are finally seeing the fruits of our efforts,” says Effie Vlachoyannacos, former coordinator with the Scarborough Civic Action Network. “It’s about time the minimum wage was increased as wages have been falling behind inflation for years. We’re still a long way from moving people out of poverty, particularly women and new immigrants who constitute the majority of low wage earners, but today’s increase is a great step in the right direction.”
The minimum wage did not increase in Ontario between 1995 and 2004. During this time, working families in Toronto suffered serious setbacks. The real pay of two income families dropped 13% in real dollars; those with only one earner dropped 18%.
Even with the $10.25 per hour minimum wage rate, workers will still be earning about $1,500 per year below the poverty line. In addition, there is no commitment from the Ontario government to issue further wage increases.
The Good Jobs for All Coalition is calling on the Ontario government to raise the minimum wage rate now to at least the Ontario poverty line and make a commitment to annual cost of living increases so that workers are not continually having to fight for this basic dignity.
The Good Jobs for All Coalition is an alliance of more than 40 community, labour and student groups representing people throughout the Greater Toronto Area. For more information on the Coalition and its’ members go to: http://goodjobsforall.ca/