Media release: Minimum Wage Advisory Panel recommendations provide Premier Kathleen Wynne with opportunity to advance vision for decent work

January 27, 2014

Toronto—The much-anticipated recommendations of the Minimum Wage advisory panel were made public today, revealing a number of modest proposals for regularizing future increases in the minimum wage. The Panel Chair decided that recommending the minimum wage level would be outside the Panel’s scope.

“By recommending the minimum wage should increase annually in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, the Advisory Panel has adopted one of three key demands put forward by the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage,” said Deena Ladd, Coordinator of the Workers Action Centre. “This kind of indexation would be a real step forward. But we must also insist that Ontario’s minimum wage generate enough income so that a full-time worker is not living in poverty. As it stands, a full-time minimum wage earner falls 25% below the poverty line, and we need much more than a cost-of-living increase to address his shortfall.”

According to the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage, $14 an hour will bring a worker 10% above the Low Income Measure – the standard adopted by the provincial government in its poverty reduction strategy.

“Just last year, in responding to a study on precarious employment authored by the United Way and McMaster University, Premier Kathleen Wynne made a commitment to Ontario workers to develop a decent work agenda,” said Ladd. “Today, the Premier has a real opportunity to make good on that promise by ensuring that a full-time job is pathway out of poverty – not a poverty trap.”

The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is calling for a minimum wage of $14 an hour, increased annually by the CPI. The Campaign estimates that a $14 minimum wage would inject at least $5 billion annually into Ontario’s economy, stimulating consumer demand, generating economic activity and creating jobs.