The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) welcomes an announcement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, pledging her party’s support for a $15 minimum wage. The OFL is part of a broad coalition of labour unions and community groups, calling themselves “Fight for $15 and Fairness,” that has launched a campaign to demand sweeping changes to Ontario’s labour laws and a $15 minimum wage. The NDP’s announcement makes it the first political party in Ontario to support the popular demand for a $15 minimum wage.
“There are $1.7 million workers in Ontario who currently earn wages that fall below the poverty line,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “Andrea Horwath has taken a bold and principled stand to say that the Ontario NDP believes that someone who works hard every day should be able to provide for their family. The NDP wants to make a $15 minimum wage the law of the land.”
At the Broadbent Institute's Progress Summit on April 1, 2016, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath declared: “It’s time to raise the floor for every worker. It’s time for Ontario to show leadership and political will. It’s time for a $15 minimum wage.”
Popular support for a $15 minimum wage has been sweeping North America, with important victories in cities and regions peppered throughout the United States. In Ontario, the current minimum wage of $11.25 is set to rise to $11.40 in October, after an annual adjustment for inflation. However, despite the annualized increases, low-income workers in Ontario continue to languish in poverty. Lifting the base rate for the minimum wage to $15 an hour would peg wages 10 percent above the low-income cut-off and finally give workers a chance to get ahead.
“A $15 minimum wage will boost the economy by giving workers more money to spend on their families – that is money that goes straight back into the economy,” said Buckley, “It will have the biggest impact on women workers, racialized people, newcomers and other equity-seeking groups, who are vastly over-represented in Ontario’s precarious workforce.
“Lifting the minimum wage is a vital first step, but Ontario needs a total overhaul of its outmoded labour laws in order to make it fair for every worker.”
The OFL has launched www.MakeItFair.ca to coincide with the province’s “Changing Workplaces Review.” The campaign gives voice to unions demands for across-the-board changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act that would improve standards for every worker and make it easier to join a union.
For further information:
Joel Duff, OFL Communications Director: 416-707-0349 (cell) or [email protected] *ENG/FRENCH*