Metro News: Ottawa groups respond to minimum wage

Posted June 1, 2017

Minimum wage in Ontario will rise dramatically over the next two years, rising to $15 by 2019.
 
The minimum wage increase was the centrepiece of a slew of reforms Premier Kathleen Wynne revealed in a campaign-style setting, including ensuring equal pay for part-time workers, increasing vacation entitlements and expanding personal emergency leave.
 
“Our plan takes dead aim at the challenges that confront us in this new, uncertain world,” she said, citing the Liberals' pharmacare plan, a basic income pilot project, 100,000 new child-care spaces, and a plan to cool the housing market.
 
“It puts fairness at the heart of all we do.”
 
Ontario's minimum wage increase will be phased-in gradually. It will rise, as scheduled, with inflation from $11.40 currently to $11.60 in October. Then, the government plans to bump it up to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and $15 the following year.
 
Ten per cent of Ontario workers currently make the minimum wage, Wynne said, and 30 per cent make less than $15 an hour.
 
Ottawa Acorn Member Aisha Abdunnur works for minimum wage today and has been part of the group’s efforts to see it rise.
 
She said today’s $11.40 is just enough.
 
“I am living paycheque to paycheque, because it just covers the cost of my living,” she said. “My budget right now doesn’t even really cover groceries.”
 
She said $15 an hour would make all the difference.
 
“In order for me to be able to save and pay back my debt and pay for living expenses, it’s gong to be really awesome. It’s going to help us out,” she said.  
 
The Ottawa Chamber was not prepared to comment on the government’s announcement on Tuesday.
 
But when rumours the government was considering a change first came forward earlier this month, the chamber joined other business groups denouncing the move.
 
 
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Article by Ryan Tumilty for Metro News