A $15 minimum wage is a central part of lifting workers out of poverty, but there are many other changes that need to be made to push back against low-wage and precarious work. Workers need hours that they can live on, paid sick days so they can afford to get well, better protections from reprisals, easier access to unionization, and laws that protect everyone and that are proactively enforced.
Because minimum wage earners tend to spend most of their earnings, this money will be put to work where it’s needed most – in local communities. Raising Ontario’s minimum wage to $15 an hour would stimulate Ontario’s economy by putting more than $5 billion additional dollars in workers’ pockets.
Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour makes good economic sense. Household spending is a key economic driver accounting for more than half – 54% – of Canada’s GDP. Businesses need customers to thrive – and to generate job growth.
Raising the minimum wage will benefit nearly 1.5 million people, almost 60% of whom are at least 25 years old. Women, newcomers and racialized workers face systemic discrimination in the labour market and this helps explain why they are over-represented among minimum wage earners. Over 58% of minimum wage earners are women and, according to the Wellesley Institute, 35% are racialized. The share of racialized employees earning minimum wage is 47% higher than for the total population. Raising the minimum wage will help close the income gap for workers facing barriers on the job market.
For more information, please contact:
Bonnie Krysowaty, Social Researcher/Planner