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Labour suggests $20 minimum wage

By Randy Thoms Jan 24, 2024 | 1:13 PM

Laura Walton, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, speaks at a pre-budget hearing, January 23, 2024.

A call for a huge hike to the minimum wage.

The Ontario Federation of Labour suggests it should be at 20 dollars an hour.

President Laura Walton told a pre-budget hearing that Ontario’s most vulnerable residents are struggling the most.

“Those who already are among the poorest and most vulnerable prior to the global pandemic are now worse than they were before. Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Programs have been below the deep poverty line for the last 15 years, leaving almost 900,000 Ontarioans behind,” says Walton.

She adds food bank usage has risen by 40%, with 800,000 people making 5.9 million visits.

Ontario’s minimum wage is now at $16.35 an hour and is scheduled to increase in October based on April’s inflation rate.

Walton adds the government’s underfunding of public services and programs is also costing people.

“We have downloaded the burden onto everyday people of Ontario, and it’s reaching in so many different ways. It is someone like my mother who is trying to do the shortfall, helping my grandmother, but then also trying to make sure that her grandkids are doing okay. It is the parents that are trying to make decisions about how they are going to afford to keep their kids in school, then also be able to provide autism therapy that is really underfunded.”

Walton feels it only furthers the gap between the haves and the have-nots in Ontario.

The OFL is also calling for an end to the privatization of public services, a doubling of social assistance rates and a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.