The Ontario government will raise the general minimum wage from $14.35 to $15.00 per hour effective January 1, 2022. Under the proposed changes, the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers would be eliminated and they would be entitled to the general minimum wage. Students under 18, homeworkers and hunting, fishing and wilderness guides would also see an increase in their special minimum wage rates. To learn more about the new changes and eliminations on the government website, visit here.
Liquor servers have previously received $12.55 per hour, 19.5% below the general minimum wage. This was based on the belief customer tipping can make up the difference. However, many of these workers have increasingly seen their tips pooled and redistributed among many staff, making it harder for them to make ends meet. If the legislation is passed, liquor servers would be making a $15 per hour minimum wage.
Students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays would see an increase from $13.50 to $14.10 an hour.
Homeworkers (those who do pay work out of their own homes for employers) would see an increase from $15.80 an hour to $16.50 an hour.
Hunting and fishing guides currently have a minimum rate of $71.75 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day and $143.55 for working five or more hours in a day. Their new proposed rate would be $75.00 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day and $150.05 for working five or more hours in a day.
Most minimum wage earners are women and nearly 73% of working 15 to 19-year-olds are at or below the proposed general minimum wage of $15 per hour. Food services and retail trade are the largest industry employers, with nearly 37% of workers at or below the proposed general minimum wage of $15 per hour in retail and almost 24% in accommodation and food services.
Premier Doug Ford calls “Ontario’s workers… the unsung heroes of this pandemic, as they’ve stocked shelves, kept our supply chain moving and helped so many of us enjoy a meal among family and friends at a local restaurant,” He acknowledges the cost of living continues to go up, yet is confused on the amount on the money he claims to be putting into workers pockets by increasing the minimum wage.
Why $15 Is Not Enough:
Due to the pandemic, there have recently been higher than usual increases in the cost of living, workers are taking up more jobs than they have time in the week in order to get by.
Also, not only is the minimum wage 3-years behind, as a result of Doug Ford’s minimum wage hiatus. But also, the October 2021 annual minimum wage increase was based on the 2020 annual Consumer Price Index increase, which does not reflect the recent increases.
$15 may have been great to help workers in 2019, however, circumstances have shown workers need sustainable wages, minimum wages that represent the actual cost of living and up-to-date inflation rates.
What Can Be Done:
Workers need a living wage. The living wage is calculated based on the needs of a family of four with two parents each working full-time, full-year. It would also support a family throughout the life cycle so that young adults are not discouraged from having children and older workers have some extra income as they age. Communities across Ontario use the National Living Wage Framework to calculate their local living wage rate. To learn more about the calculation visit Ontario’s Living Wage.
The living wage highlights the amount of money people need to earn in order to cover basic living expenses, not only those that are fundamental to physical development, but also those to mental and social development. For example, costs for shopping, going out to the movies, an emergency relaxation trip to re-center oneself, etc. This is not the same as the minimum wage, which is the standard minimum employers are legally required to pay you.
By 2022, a $15 minimum wage will not be merely enough to support workers through the week, it is no doubt a living wage is crucial to help keep workers out of poverty.
We cannot let anymore workers be forced into poverty:
Sudbury currently has ten employees working below the calculated rate at $16.98, by signing this petition you can urge the municipalities of Sudbury to take action and help keep these workers above the poverty line and ensure they are being paid a sustainable wage for our city.
Take Action for all Sudbury workers!