Raising the Minimum Wage: A Letter to the Editor

minimum wage, 15 dollars Canadian money
Raising the Minimum Wage: A Letter to the Editor
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I have seen a number of responses from business groups bemoaning the proposed ‘sudden’ increase to the minimum wage. Predictions of job losses and negative impacts to businesses of all sizes abound.

Fact check:

1) A person with one or more dependents, if they are lucky enough to get 40 hours per week at minimum wage of $11.40 per hour in Ontario, is living well below the poverty line.

2) Average CEO pay increases for the last 5 or 6 years averaged between 5 and 6% a year. CEOs used to earn 40 to 50 times the pay for an average worker, now it is about 200 times.

3) When BC increased its minimum wage from $8 to $10.25 in 2011/2012 55,000 job losses were predicted; actual losses were 3,500. GDP increased in BC by 2% in 2012 and 3% in both 2013 and 2014. There may be some small job losses after the minimum wage rise in 2018/2019 in Ontario – the economy continuously adjusts to changes in trade, commodity prices, automation etc.

So what?

$15 / hour is not an outrageous amount – it is getting towards the level of a fair wage. If we had a steady 4% increase in the minimum wage over the last 25 years (from $6.60 in 1993) then the minimum wage in 2018 would be $17.60 . A fair wage in the GTA is at least $19 / hour.

100% of this increased pay will be spent in Ontario and this will boost the economy noticeably – people near the poverty line don’t park pay increases in the stock market or imported wines.

People deserve a fair wage and our society deserves the benefits of greater opportunity, more gender equity, less crime and lower ‘social’ costs that come with a more reasonable minimum wage.

Hart Jansson, Halton Chapter, Council of Canadians

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