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CUPE says minimum wage earners are 21 per cent below poverty line

Monday, January 20, 2014   by: Kate Adams

CUPE News Release

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On Monday Morning CUPE Leaders from across the region will meet to discuss the upcoming municipality election, provincial budget and the minimum wage campaign.

A full-time worker earning minimum wage in Ontario has an income 21 per cent below the poverty line, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) recently told a Guelph provincial minimum wage advisory panel.

The establishment of the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel is an indication of the government’s willingness to take action on this important issue.

With the recommendations from CUPE Ontario and community members from across the province, the government has a considerable opportunity to make lasting changes to the minimum wage that would improve the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians and strengthen the economy.

“Ontario hasn’t raised the minimum wage since 2010, while most other provinces have. It needs to be raised above the poverty line to $14 an hour. Adjusting the minimum wage immediately to $14 per hour would compensate for the loss of purchasing power resulting from the three-year freeze and would better reflect the day-to-day realities of minimum wage earners, said Henri Giroux; President of the North Bay and District CUPE Council.

“Critics will argue an increase to minimum wage would cripple the economy but it’s the exact opposite. A wage increase puts money in workers’ pockets boosting our local economy over $5 billion”; Giroux said.

The current minimum wage is $10.25. Since the last increase, inflation has reduced the purchasing power of those wages by 7 per cent. About 534,000 Ontarians work for minimum wage.

CUPE is Ontario's community union, with members providing quality public services we all rely on in every part of the province every day.

CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

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