Cornwall Ontario — The Cornwall & District Labour Council and community partners Agape Centre Food Bank and Soup Kitchen, the SD&G Coalition for Social Justice and the Social Development Council of SD&G subscribe to the Raise the Wage Campaign organized across Ontario by ACORN, the Association Community Organizations for Reform Now and the Workers Action Centre. The labour council featured a leader from ACORN’s wage campaign at its International Women’s Day breakfast, March 3, and subsequently endorsed the initiative to work for a minimum wage of $14.00 an hour, a living wage.
Minimum wage has been frozen for three years in Ontario. It has been fixed at $10.25 since 2010. Three years on, it is even more acutely inadequate than it was then and minimum wage workers are unable to come even close to the poverty line, let alone rise above it. Coupled with the low wage, other working conditions, or rather the lack of appropriate working conditions, leave fulltime workers scrambling to make ends meet working flat out when they can get the hours, and pounding the pavement to find a second or third part-time job to complement their first one.
The labour council believes that there is a structural deficit in the province of Ontario, and Queens Park is failing to recognize or address it. A full time job should return the means of survival beyond mere subsistence. Unfortunately, if it’s a minimum wage job, it doesn’t. We call on the government of Ontario to correct this and we call on the MPP for Stormont Dundas and South Glengarry to advocate on behalf of workers in this riding and across the province.
On Thursday, March 21, in concert with community and labour action groups across the province, we will lobby our MPP to act for workers. We will visit his office in Times Square at 9:00 a.m. to present our demands, chief among them an immediate raise to the minimum wage. Our MPP may respond that he is a member of the opposition, not the government; we challenge that position. He was elected to represent the people of the riding and we are calling on him to work with the government, as part of the government, to act on behalf of the lowest paid workers of Ontario. People who work fulltime deserve an adequate wage and job security. Furthermore we invite our MPP to urge Tim Hudak to write a white paper in which the current minimum is recognized as inadequate a pledge is made to raise to an appropriate rate if elected.