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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) Ontario told a provincial minimum wage advisory panel in Guelph today. 

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,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, who works at the University of Guelph and is chair of CUPE Ontario’s University Workers’ Coordinating Committee. 

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. 

Raising the minimum wage isn’t just good for low-wage earners, it’s good for the economy,” said Folk-Dawson. “History shows that raising the minimum wage creates an economic boost and creates jobs.” 

Most of Ontario’s recent job growth has been in part-time and casual positions, which often pay minimum wage. People working for minimum wage are also more likely to work multiple jobs to eke out a living. 

This is an equality issue. Minimum wage earners are disproportionately women, racialized workers, people with disabilities and new immigrants,” she said. “They are also the people doing difficult, front line service jobs like cleaners, food service workers, the child care workers who look after our kids, the personal support workers who look after our aging parents, and the social service workers who support people with developmental disabilities.” 

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. 

To download a PDF of the report, “Towards a Living Wage,” visit http://cupe.on.ca/2013wagesubmission

For further information, please contact: 

Craig Saunders
CUPE Communications
416-576-7316 (cell)