Should minimum wage be bumped up to $15 in Toronto?

Tessara Smith, PayScale

Minimum wage workers everywhere are beginning to take a stand for higher wages. Inflation is continuing to skyrocket and the salaries of lower level workers don’t seem to be keeping up with this trend.  It is becoming apparent that the annual income of lower level workers is hardly livable not only in the United States, but also in Canada. The salaries of minimum wage employees in Canada are not substantial enough for citizens already struggling to cover the ballooning costs of everything. The longer the gap between inflation and wages goes on, the more citizens are pushing for a pay day. Canadian Labor activists have even gone as far as delivering MPP’s with a block of ice containing $10.25, Ontario’s minimum wage since 2010. The people have made it clear; it is time for sustainable wages to become a reality.

Earlier this past June, Parliament finally cracked under the pressure to raise wages and Ontario took the leap bumping minimum wage from $10.25 per hour to $11.00 per hour. This small increase doesn’t seem momentous in the grand scheme of things, but for some it makes the difference between being able to afford housing or not. Even though the wage bump was considered a major victory for employees and activists however; it was only the beginning resolution to a much larger problem that minimum wage workers have been facing for the last few years. One city in Ontario that particularly is desperately in need of a pay raise is Toronto. Even though the city will reap the benefits of Ontario’s’ new minimum wage, workers are saying this won’t be enough to keep up with the costs of living in an area with such a high price tag. Critics speculate that New Westminster has already raised minimum wage to $15 an hour and yet “world Class” Toronto is still lagging behind this trend.

Financial analysts seem to agree that minimum wage workers aren’t just crying wolf. When economists calculated the cost of living back in 2008, the average member of the working class in Toronto needed to make an average of $16.60 an hour in order to manage their bills and keep up with their rent. Unfortunately, many minimum wage workers in the city are struggling when it comes to just paying off their cellphone bills, let alone covering the costs of rent and home life. Minimum wage activists are pushing for $15 an hour, but politicians won’t budge. The power struggle between workers and MPP’s is creating a huge controversy due to the fact that city officials are in direct control of the zoo, coffee shops, fast food restaurants, etc. In short, city officials could easily require all companies to raise their wages and it would be no skin off their backs. At their core, poverty wages are a municipal issue and it’s time for city officials and politicians alike to come to this realization. It’s often easier said than done when it comes to changing minimum wage policy, but in this case citizens are claiming raising minimum wage is easy and it should be done.

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5 Comments on "Should minimum wage be bumped up to $15 in Toronto?"

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And the next thing to know is that your BigMac combo will cost 15$…Inflation will go up!

Bud Pope
This is an observation of some of the situations and comments in today’s world. There have been a lot of posts on wages and job action over the last while and I have read them and feel a need to voice my opinion.  You are all entitled to your opinion and feel free to post it so now I will post mine.  Minimum wage is a starting point for new workers in the work force. Anyone that can’t advance past the starting point in their job is doing something wrong. Choose another line of work that you will enjoy and excel… Read more »

The problem is not the minimum wage – it’s the cost of living.  Bumping up the minimum wage will make those who employ the minimum wage earners have to bump up their prices which means a higher cost of living which means more demand in a minimum wage increase.  The only thing that’s happening that those who are in the middle or middle-lower class will see an increase in their cost of living, but not as much in their wages.  Put the focus in making the cost of living reasonable.

There’s a fundamental difference between small employers who can’t afford to pay more, and large corporations or ultra-rich entrepreneurs who can.  I think raising minimum wages are important in allowing the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in society to improve their position (who can afford today’s education to advance themself based on today’s minimum wage for example).  However, it might be mroe helpful to legislate or consider incentives/penalties to ENCOURAGE employers to pay more, such as tying minimum and/or average wages to those of senior leaders. I’m of the opinion that history teaches us about what happens when a small group… Read more »
I agree with Mr. Pope’s comments (minimum wage is a starting point for new workers).  Also seems that some demand more without doing more (or doing with less as the case may be). This article states minimum wage workers are struggling to pay off their cell phone bills let alone cover the cost of rent.  I question the priorities of an individual who maintains a cell phone when they can’t afford rent. Increasing minimum wage is not some kind of magic bullet solution.  Of more concern is the ever-increasing gap between top-paid senior management whose total compensation (wages and bonuses) has become completely out of scale with the average worker.  I… Read more »