1310 News: Day of action calling for the government to raise Ontario’s minimum wage
Posted August 15, 2013
ACORN Ottawa held a rally in Vanier Wednesday afternoon, demanding minimum wage in Ontario be raised to $14-per-hour and indexed to inflation.
OTTAWA – ACORN Ottawa held a rally in Vanier Wednesday afternoon, demanding minimum wage in Ontario be raised to $14-per-hour and indexed to inflation.
The rally was part of a province-wide day of action, with protests happening in several communities across Ontario.
In Ottawa, about 35 protesters gathered outside MPP Madeline Meilleur’s office on Montreal Road, banging pots and pans, and demanding a ‘living wage.’
Jason Quintel is one of the leading organizers of the protest and said the minimum wage should be set to the level of inflation.
“Our primary focus today is really to raise the minimum wage to a level that’s proportionate to the amount of inflation we’ve seen in the last three years,” Quintel said.
“That’s not to say the government couldn’t take big strides to possibly provide more resources and services … they could possibly look in to other tax breaks that are not limited to people with children.”
Protesters said they chose Meilleur’s office because she was involved in the wage freeze brought forth by the government three years ago, and she makes nearly ten-times more in salary than the average minimum wage worker.
The youth co-ordinator of ACORN in Ottawa, Curtis Bultovich said wages are clearly an issue in Ontario.
“When you can’t afford enough food to eat, when you can’t afford your rent, let alone your utilities, we have a problem,” Bultovich said.
“We need to raise the minimum wage so that people are able to afford the basic necessities of life.”
David Lipton also took part in the rally, he’s a representative of the United Steelworkers and said he sees the problems with under-paid workers first-hand.
“Many of our members work in sectors like security, where the wages are not very high, and we’re concerned about the low rate of wages in Ontario,” Lipton said.
“Were also very concerned about people who are not fortunate enough to be members of unions, where they can bargain collectively for their salary.”
Many motorists honked in support of the rally on their way by, as protesters banged their pots and pans for over an hour.
Minimum wage in Ontario has been frozen since 2010 at $10.25, and is the second highest in the country.