Hundreds of people came together Saturday at Queen’s Park as a part of the “Rally for Decent Work” to advocate for fair jobs and a better minimum wage increases.
Ontario’s minimum wage increased to $11.40 from $11.25 Saturday, but workers earning that hourly rate say it’s not good enough.
“We came here as skilled immigrants,” Rebeka Amin, who currently works in the manufacturing industry earning minimum wage, said.
She moved to Toronto from Bangladesh two years ago with the hope of finding a better life.
“I am an accountant by profession … but we found there are no jobs. There is a scarcity of job in our career … so we are forced to do these precarious jobs to survive.”
She wants the government to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is something Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has been advocating for.
“I think the evidence shows very clearly that the increase of minimum wage is helpful not only to the business people but to the economy as well as to the workers,” Horwath said.
But Carleton University professor Ian Lee disagreed, saying a minimum wage increase to $15 would create unemployment.
“If wages go from 10 to 15 dollars per hour, that’s a 50 per cent increase in labour cost,” Lee said.
“Firms will start to economize on their labour cost, and how do they do that? They reduce the hours of people worked and they go full-time to part-time people.”
With the cost of living on the rise, Amin said she wants to see changes come soon.
“Rent is increasing. Everything is increasing. Food prices are increasing, the TTC is increasing, but our wage rate isn’t increasing at that pace,” she said.