Cornwall Ontario – In the past, Ontario has had one of the lowest minimum wage rates across the Country. Today, the minimum wage as it stands at $10.25 since 2010 and is currently, one of the highest in the Country. If you’re feeding a family or just trying to support yourself and you work approximately 35 hours per week earning minimum wage, then you are barely getting by. Without taxes, personal expenses or any tips you may receive while working on the job, you will make less than $20,000 a year. Full time minimum wage worker Jeffrey D’artagnan says,
“I think the minimum is far to low it needs to go up to at least over 15$ per hour. Right now it is too low to support ones self and is a joke. If people are in school trying to better themselves and have a part time job- that won’t make enough to go to school and support themselves.”
Cornwall City Councilor Elaine Macdonald also states,
“It used to be that if you had a job you moved out of the poverty grouping, now that’s not the case. Now you can have a full time job and still be poor. There’s something wrong with that.”
According to the Provincial Advisory Panel, that number should increase annually.
People want an increase in minimum wage without an increase in their taxes, enabling them to advantageously support themselves, as well their family. Before the Canadian Liberal Party came to power in 2003, our minimum wage stood at $6.85. As mentioned above, this is one of the lowest rates the province has ever had. Now, people are asking for the current high rate to be raised further. So far nothing has been said to happen regarding to the higher the annual rate. Even though there was recently a campaign held by the Workers Action Centre, to increase the minimum wage up to $14.00 per hour. Designer and artist Tina Cosic comments,
“I think it should be raised because there are many people who do work minimum wage and support their families.”
There so far is no set in stone standard, for what the amount for minimum wage should be increased or decreased too. There is no way to say for sure as of now when the next inflation of the minimum wage rate will be. For now it is open for discussion. Tina was asked her opinion on the matter, how much she felt minimum wage should go up? She replied,
“Well at least $11.25 because if they have that little bit extra, it’s possible to at least cover the rent bills every month. That’s not even a starter for other bills plus living expenses.”
In the past ten years, the average for people working minimum wage has doubled. If more and more people are being added to that list than in the past, isn’t it about time the Canadian government reviews the budget on minimum wage? Even more important, in the next few years if it does get reviewed, how many years will it take for the change to finally be in effect?
A recent study done by Statistics Canada gathered from 2003 through to 2011, gives us evidence to report that minimum wage earners are more likely to be young people in the work place. This report did not include the wages for the self employed, retired, people on welfare, the unemployed or stay at home parents. The study did show that almost 40% of minimum wage workers are 25 years of age or older. Councilor Elaine Macdonald says,
“Change the wage because obviously, its the way it’s broken down and not only has it doubled but it’s now at about half a million people and the majority of them are women and they’re not kids anymore.”
Elaine also went on to state,
“It used to be that minimum wage jobs were held by high school kids you know, making a few dollars for their weekend entertainment or what ever, but not minimum wage jobs are primarily being held by parents, and grandparents.”
Currently women account for almost two thirds of all minimum wage workers. More women work for minimum wage jobs than above minimum wage jobs. This should also be taken into account when placed beside the average for men, which is only one third of the total amount of minimum wage workers. The minimum wage currently, has been frozen for four years now. There is a possibility that when the time comes, the rate will rise, as many would agree. If it does get raised, it will decrease poverty provincially by 10%.
E.V. Hutcheon is a 2nd year St. Lawrence College Journalism Student. She has professionally edited a Polish history book and is hoping to see her dream and passion of writing into a career. Previously living Toronto, E.V. is now a proud Cornwall citizen. On her off time you can usually find her at home writing her latest book, or walking along the St Lawrence River.