Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign

Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign

September 20, 2017 09:55 ET

Media Release: As food bank usage rises, advocates urge the Ontario government to alleviate poverty by strengthening Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 20, 2017) - Food bank usage in Toronto has increased to levels not seen since the height of the global recession despite lower unemployment numbers, says recent report by the Daily Bread Food Bank. This affirms the urgent need to tackle the growth of precarious work through labour law reform.

Based on surveys conducted with clients who visit the food bank, the report concludes that: "the increasing precariousness of the labour market spells trouble for those trying to escape poverty, even during relatively prosperous times." In Toronto the total number of visits to Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank is 9% higher than in 2016, and 24% higher than in 2008. While in the last year alone Scarborough has seen a 30% increase.

"More than ever, we need every job to be a decent job. Many people who go to food banks and meal programs are employed, but working 20 hours per week at minimum wage still leaves them having to choose between rent and food," said the Reverend Andrea Budgey, chair of the Poverty Reduction subcommittee of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, who also volunteers at several community meals and drop-ins.

"People are really struggling because they can't find full-time jobs," says Nadira Begum, a community organizer in Regent Park. "That's why they cobble together several part-time jobs, which is not easy to do when you are on call or only receive your schedule the day before."

The Ontario government has tabled Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act to address these problems by raising the minimum wage to $15, providing equal pay for equal work for part-time, full-time, temporary and casual workers, as well as introducing fairer schedules and paid personal emergency days.

A $15 minimum wage will give a tremendous boost to low-income families' purchasing power, as the current minimum wage of $11.40 leaves workers more than 17% below the poverty line.

"Bill 148 has the potential to make a real difference by improving the quality of jobs and increasing incomes for workers in precarious employment. But it is crucial that the government gets the equal pay for equal work and scheduling provisions right," said Pam Frache, the provincial coordinator of the Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign. "That means eliminating the loopholes in the legislation that undermine the stated intent of the bill."

Contact Information

  • Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator
    Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign
    Cell: 647-710-5795
    info@15andfairness.org