BY ROBERT JANES
The minimum wage increasing in Ontario from $11.25 to $11.40 per hour is great for anyone with a part-time job. However, I did not see an increase and many of you might not have either. I did not get a raise because I already make more than the minimum wage working as an assistant manager at Zumiez, and I can tell you that an extra 15 cents isn’t going to help much. In fact, an extra dollar an hour isn’t going to be a life changer.
Being a student is tough; it can include doing 20 or so hours of school each week, another 20 at our part-time jobs, and then the countless hours spent working on assignments from home. Yet we are expected to pay for our vehicles, insurance, rent, food, bills and wants. Tuition isn’t free yet, so we just keep sliding a little bit more into debt.
What about parents making minimum wage, needing to support their children? It isn’t as if the Ontario child benefit payment will pull them above the poverty line. Single mothers get this benefit (a maximum payment of $1,356 per child per year) and hopefully child support as well, however, it is still a constant struggle regardless of whether they are on government assistance
or working full-time making the new minimum.
I believe that the New Democrats were right when they said the minimum wage should be raised to $15 per hour, and not just because that is more than I am making right now.
Many Canadians believe that a minimum wage of $15 an hour would greatly benefit the economy by lowering staff turnover rates, increasing production and cycling more money through the economy.
It would also raise all workers above the poverty line, which only seems fair. The low-income line in Canada in 2015 was $19,157. Working 40 hours a week at the new minimum wage would generate earnings of $23,712.
I think it is imperative that the minimum wage increases simultaneously with the cost of living and the inflation of the dollar.
I also think the entire tax bracket in the lower fifth should see a respective raise.
It is not fair for any person to work 40 hours a week and not make enough money for their food, shelter and transportation. Yet many people are either working from paycheque to paycheque or sinking into debt to accommodate a lower than lavish lifestyle.
Maybe there should be a maximum wage. The money paid over and above that could be used for minimum wage increases.