By Khimar’ Morgan, Community Worker and student in training at Access Alliance
I have noticed with complete disappointment the outcome of the minimum wage campaign and its impact on the working class in Ontario. After polls showed widespread support for an increase in the $10.25 per hour federal minimum, our Honourable leaders and their advisers have decided to grant a 75 cents boost in a long overdue minimum wage.
In my opinion, this comes as an insult after all society’s efforts to raise the minimum wage up to $14/hour and eradicate poverty. Brazil is a case in point, where by simply raising the minimum wage, the late president Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva elevated two million people out of poverty. Alluding to this success story, the following question comes to mind: what is our leaders’ tactics in getting Ontarians out of poverty with full time job prospects?
As one who has been pro-active on this issue, I have spent all my energy in this endeavour; numerous advocacy methods include the walking petition, spreading awareness with family, friends, and those in my church and community, shared insights with professors and fellow activists, as well as collaborated efforts with colleagues at Access Alliance. After months of campaigning and viewing with optimism the tremendous public support received for the goal of $14, it was a great disappointment to see our advocacy’s impact reflected in a few cents increase. I am honoured to have worked alongside the Access Alliance staff throughout the campaign, which gave me immense insight. If anything has been gained from this experience, it is that “the race is not for the swift, but the ones who can endure” (Ecclesiates 9:11). I will continue to lobby and advocate for higher standards of living for the working and lower-income classes. What is truly motivating is the support this campaign received; proof that people of all socio-economic backgrounds stand in solidarity in their vision for wiping out poverty in Canada.
From a simple economic standpoint, I only assume that if you pay wage earners more money, they will spend more money, fuelling economic growth and having a positive impact on not only the lower-income households but also on the industrialists, retailers and restaurant owners; eventually pulling Ontario and Canada out of this state of prolonged poverty. Interestingly, the intention of the minimum wage when started years ago was aimed at students just entering the workforce. Now, families forced to live on it have barely enough in the bank to eat well and healthily in such a rich country as Canada. Honourable leaders, do you really think $14 is too much to ask for? It could make all the difference to the vast majority of people who would be able to buy more goods and services and pay more bills. We, the people of Ontario, ask that you reconsider the increase and give us a liveable wage.
What is your opinion on the Ontario wage increase? Will it affect your life for the better or is it hardly significant at all? Please tell us by leaving a comment!