Living Wage - Salaire-subsistance

Today in Canada, more 1.3 million of our children live in poverty.  Low wages remain a significant barrier to all Canadians achieving self sufficiency through work. According to Statscan, more than a million people across the country worked for minimum wages or less last year, the fourth year in a row that this shamefully persistent number has been above the one million mark. While levels of education and experience have increased and productivity has grown, real wages remained stagnant from 1981 to 2004 while median wages have grown at a snail’s pace (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).  Clearly, low wages are a large part of why so many working Canadians remain poor. 
Despite the need to address working poverty and the popular support for government action to do so, Canada’s elected leadership has been disturbingly timid on the wage-raising front. No recent increase to the minimum wage or poverty reduction strategy seriously addresses the issue of the sinking wage floor.
The need for a grassroots Wages Rising movement in Canada is clearer than ever!
ACORN members for the last 10 years have been fighting on a range of wage campaigns. ACORN members and allies won a precedent setting Living Wage Victory in New Westminster, BC. They fought the good fight in Ottawa for a Living wage that built momentum for Minimum Wage campaigns for  $10/hour in 2008 and $14/hour in 2014 in Ontario. 
Capacity from each campaign helps build the next and ACORN members from coast to coast are excited to fight!
·       Living wage campaigns are just getting started in Toronto and Halifax.
·       ACORN members are fighting for a federal fair wage of $15/hour for a) workers under federal jurisdiction b) contracted employees and Employees of firms that enter into service contracts with the federal government and c) Employees of firms receiving economic development assistance (grants, tax abatements, low interest loans, etc.) from the federal government.
·        BC ACORN and NS ACORN are also fighting for $15 minimum wage campaigns!

PRESS ADVISORY: BC ACORN Disability Rights Group demanding increased income from Ministry of Social Development

BC ACORN Disability Rights Group ACORN’s Disability Rights Group is a growing organized body of disabled British Columbians demanding livable allowances from the Provincial Government. They are holding their second monthly action as a part of the rights-based campaign for livable income.

  • Wednesday Oct 24th at 11:15 AM
  • New Westminster Ministry of Social Development Office – Columbia Square at the 10th St. and Agnes St. entrance. (1015 Columbia St.)

Tom Page, leader of the group states: “The response from the disabled people’s community has been strong. More and more people have been calling the ACORN office asking what they can do to help out the campaign. Disabled people have nothing to lose, it’s hard to imagine falling further behind economically.”

ACORN Disability Rights Group is a large group of determined disabled people committed to justice. They believe it is their human right to receive a livable income.

ACORN is demanding

  1. An immediate increase of PWD rates to $1200, and review of what amount of money is needed for disabled people to meet the cost of living.
  2. Make the benefits accessible for disabled people by cutting needless bureaucratic red tape and automatically getting recipients the benefits they are entitled to.

For more information and reports, or to talk with spokesperson Tom Page, call Scott Nunn at 778 500 2874 - or email

For more info on ACORN Canada visit

Burnaby Now: Rally in Burnaby demands increase to disability rates

BC ACORN's Disability Rights Group.Roughly a dozen people, mostly with disabilities, gathered outside a Burnaby welfare office Wednesday, demanding the government increase their monthly benefit payments.

"We're fed up being treated like a bunch of beggars. We're angry and we're not going to be silent any longer," said New Westminster resident Tom Page, spokesperson for ACORN, a social justice organization. ACORN's disability rights group was holding the demonstration on Wednesday morning on the corner of Kingsway and McKay Avenue near Metrotown.

According to Page, people receiving disability benefits from the government live in "abject extreme poverty" receiving only $906 a month (which translates to $10,872 annually), while Albertans receive $1,588.

"B.C. has one of the highest costs of living in Canada, but the disability rates have fallen to sixth place," Page told the crowd through a megaphone.

Page also bemoaned the difficulties and wait-times to get on disability and the fact that benefits are not retroactive to the date of application.

ACORN wants the disability rates raised to $1,200 immediately, followed by a study to come up with a livable rate that's indexed for inflation. According to Page, who's on disability, the government hasn't increased the rates since 2007.

Ottawa ACORN Teams Up with OPSEU to Stop the Cuts!

Ottawa ACORN has been working hard in the last month to collect signatures on a petition to protest proposed cut backs to the “community start up and maintenance” benefit. Dalton McGuinty’s government is planning on cutting the benefit in January 2013 and ACORN, along with other community groups, are DEMANDING a reversal!

ACORN members teamed up with OPSEU and spent the Pupusa Festival and Labour Day festivities collecting HUNDREDS of signatures on a petition to STOP THE CUTS! We won’t let McGuinty push low income folks around.

To sign the petition, contact the Ottawa ACORN office.


EMC News: ACORN challenges province to put food in the budget

Kathleen Fortin, a member of the ACORN Ottawa executive shouts opposition to clawbacks during a protest to raise social assistance cheques in line with the cost of living at the Food Basics on Merivale Road on May 24.EMC news - Members of ACORN - a poverty advocacy group - challenged the Ontario premier to put food in the budget with a protest held in front of a Food Basics on Merivale Road on May 24.

Kathleen Fortin, a member of Ottawa ACORN's board, said the stagnant rates of social assistance don't work with the rising cost of food.

"It just doesn't add up," she said.

She says that she and her partner are both on disability and can barely make the rent each month. "My boyfriend has had cancer and can't work because of it. His diet is restricted and expensive," she said. "Is he supposed to stop eating properly because he no longer has enough funding to do so? No. We're just going to have to find the money we don't have."

ACORN says it has about 1,600 members in the Ottawa area and Fortin said they challenged Dalton McGuinty to try and pay for the monthly food and grocery bills while receiving a meager allowance on social assistance.

Ottawa Citizen: Protesters target McGuinty office to fight social assistance freeze

ACORN Canada member challenges premier to live on $1,040 a month.

The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer was the statement repeated through the microphone Friday as grassroots organization ACORN protested the latest budget outside Dalton McGuinty's office.

There were about 50 people in attendance to speak out against the social assistance freeze and the child tax benefit cuts that were announced Tuesday in the provincial budget.

Though McGuinty was in Ottawa on Friday to speak about the budget, he was not at his constituency office during the protest. Office staff locked the door and closed the window blinds during the protest.

Kathleen Fortin is a member of the board for ACORN and has been part of the organization for four years. "I'm here to speak for those who can't speak for themselves," said Fortin. 

Despite Surplus, Mayor Ford Pushes for Deep Cuts

On January 17th, Toronto ACORN members from across the city will be rallying at city hall while city council meets to discuss and vote on Mayor Ford's proposed 2012 budget.  Despite the city's close to $150 million surplus, the Ford administration is pushing massive unnecessary service cuts as part of a radical conservative agenda.

Toronto ACORN members will be gathering at 4pm at the front doors of City Hall and progressing into council chambers with the demand that council votes against the proposed cuts to childcare, transit service, community centres, libraries and other services that are essential parts of our neighbourhoods.

Join Us >>
Where: City Hall (100 Queen St. West)
When: 4pm
Why: Call on City Council to reject Ford's cuts

Living Wage Advocates Cruise to Victory in New West Municipal Elections

ACORN Canada members were thrilled with the results of the November 19th municipal elections in New Westminster, with key backers of the Living Wage Policy cruising to victory.

The results showed once again that living wage policies - as well as being key poverty reduction tools - are winning positions for elected officials.  Living wage champion Jaimie McEvoy won easily, increasing his vote total by 30%, proving that having the courage to enact progressive policies that support working families is rewarded on election night.

ACORN Canada's membership in New Westminster launched their campaign for a Living Wage Policy in 2009 as a contribution to the broader Living Wage for Families Campaign.  After engaging Coucillor McEvoy, gathering over 1500 signatures, signing up 400 new members, and pushing the campaign forward in City Council, Canada's first living wage policy was eventually passed.

Local detractors attempted to use Councillor McEvoy’s support for the living wage against him in the election - charges that were shown to be baseless by election night.
David Tate, ACORN's Canada National Board Representative from New Westminster said that these results prove that when you do the organizing work to engage people on issues like the living wage they and they understand the issue deeply they’ll reward you for it.  ACORN Canada and Jaimie McEvoy did just that over the last 2 years and will hope to do so for years to come.

Vancouver Sun: Living wage policy: Why municipalities should start to lead the way

A living wage by definition allows a family to cover basic living expenses - in Metro Vancouver it is calculated at $18.81/hour (including benefits). A municipal living wage policy, like the one adopted in New Westminster, means all city staff are guaranteed a living wage as well as anyone who provides contracted services to the city.

Read the full story here