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Should the Minimum Wage be Raised?

It was on Thursday that The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage stormed Queen’s Park to give the Ontario Ministry of Labour a Canadian $10 bill. That was frozen in a block of ice.

Their point was that the minimum wage has been kept at $10.25 for the past three years, and that you can’t live on that wage alone, especially considering the fact that within the past three years nearly every other costs of living has gone up.

“This issue resonates everywhere we go. You cannot survive on $10.25 when all the other costs of living have been going up. The minimum wage needs to also go up, said Sonia Singh of Worker’s Action Centre, one of groups belonging to The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage.

They say that minimum wage needs to be raised to $14 an hour. And currently there are about 800,000 Canadians that work for minimum wage, or below. The Labour Minister, Yasir Naqvi responded on Thursday saying that she was listening to the groups, and that it’s going to take a lot of listening and a lot of listening in order to get the job done. By, she says, the government is willing to do the work.

“We recognize that there is more to do and look forward to positive discussions with business, labour and community groups on developing an appropriate mechanism for determining the minimum wage in the future,” Naqvi said.

Ontario, tied with B.C., has one of the highest minimum wages in Canada right now, but some members of the advocacy group say that it’s not enough. With the wage where it currently sits, many say that they’re forced to take on at least two jobs at that wage, and it’s leaving less time for them to be at home. That’s especially hard for single parents.

“There’s less time being spent at home,” says single mom Nicole Mason of ACORN, another group that’s a member of The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage. “Children are being raised almost by the community. I’m not raising my kids.”

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