Minimum wage campaign seeks hike to $14 per hour in Ontario
Published Tuesday, January 14, 2014 11:39AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:15PM EST
Queen's Park is the target of a campaign today, aimed at raising the minimum wage in the province for the first time in four years.
The minimum wage in Ontario is currently $10.25.
But a coalition of groups that have come together under the banner "Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage," are urging the province to increase workers' minimum pay to $14.
And they hope Ontarians of all stripes will join them.
According to an announcement on the campaign website, Ontarians are encouraged to write or call Premier Kathleen Wynne and their local MPP with a suggestion they work toward raising the minimum pay.
"Tell Premier Kathleen Wynne that we need a $14 minimum wage for a healthy Ontario," it says, offering a phone number for the premier's office.
According to a study released last October, nine per cent of Ontario workers were earning the minimum wage in 2011, up from 4.3 per cent in 2003.
The Wellesley Institute report, which was based on Statistics Canada data, also noted that certain segments of the population -- especially women, recent immigrants and visible minorities -- were more likely to still be working for minimum wage throughout that eight-year span.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Dr. Gary Bloch pointed to studies that estimate poverty costs the province approximately $3 billion annually.
"The lost productivity and increased health dollars that this represents are avoidable through key health interventions such as a living minimum wage of $14 per hour."
Elsewhere in Canada, the minimum wage ranges from less than $10 to $11.
With files from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss and The Canadian Press