Today, Ontario's minimum wage rises to $10.25 per hour - the third and final rise in the past three years.
It was an assertive community based campaign coupled with the by-election loss in York-South Weston (one of Ontario's poorest ridings) that eventually saw the McGuinty government to reverse its long standing opposition to minimum wage increases. Toronto ACORN members were a critical component of this campaign, packing into Town hall meetings, collecting petition signatures and building community support in working family neighbourhoods across Toronto.
Minimum wages remain one of the most important anti-poverty tools available to governments because of there "trickle-up" impact on wages of other low wage workers. By raising the wage floor we are able to elevate more workers out of poverty - and not just minimum wage workers - but workers earning near the minimum wage.
Unfortunately, Ontario has no more new minimum wage increases planned, leaving open the possibility of these gains being lost to inflation and cost of living increases in years to come. Ontario ACORN is calling for the Province to lay out a plan for future raises to bring the minimum wage above the poverty line and to peg the minimum wage to inflation.
Toronto ACORN worked closely with the Toronto District Labour Council as well as a number of other groups to help win this important campaign.