TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 30, 2016) - The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) applauds the Government of Alberta's plan to implement a $15 minimum wage by 2018. The OFL is calling on the Wynne government to follow Alberta's bold leadership, by making $15 minimum wage its standard for workers across Ontario.
"There are 1.7 million workers in Ontario who currently earn wages that fall below the poverty line," said OFL President Chris Buckley. "It is time for the Government of Ontario to take the vital first step of raising the minimum wage, in addition to a comprehensive overhaul of its outdated employment laws in order to make it fair for every worker."
The OFL has launched www.MakeItFair.ca to coincide with the province's "Changing Workplaces Review." The campaign gives voice to unions demands for across-the-board changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act that would improve standards for every worker and make it easier to join a union.
Popular support for a $15 minimum wage has been sweeping North America, with important victories in cities and regions peppered throughout the United States. The OFL is part of a broad coalition of labour unions and community groups, calling themselves "Fight for $15 and Fairness," that has launched a campaign to demand sweeping changes to Ontario's labour laws and a $15 minimum wage. In Ontario, the current minimum wage of $11.25 is set to rise to $11.40 in October, after an annual adjustment for inflation. However, despite the annualized increases, low-income workers in Ontario continue to languish in poverty. Lifting the base rate for the minimum wage to $15 an hour would peg wages 10 percent above the low-income cut-off.
"A $15 minimum wage will boost the economy by giving workers more money to spend on their families - that is money that goes straight back into the economy," said Buckley. "It will have the biggest impact on women workers, racialized people, newcomers and other equity-seeking groups, who are vastly over-represented in Ontario's precarious workforce."
Today's announcement by Alberta's NDP is an historic step forward that will significantly improve the lives of many Albertans and Canadians who currently work full-time and don't earn a living wage. The Alberta plan includes a 33 percent reduction in the small business tax rate from three to two percent in 2017. New tax credits will also be implemented to provide more access to capital, given that the recent economic downturn has hit Alberta employers hard.
The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.