About 40 people recently gathered to protest the Kingston Chamber of Commerce’s stance on minimum wage in the province, voicing their views outside a local conference centre where the organization was holding a business expo.
Global News spoke with Lesley Jamieson, organizer of the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign.
“We want the Chamber of Commerce to stop calling for measures that are going to undermine the health of our communities and the well-being of people, and we want the Ontario government to stop listening to them when they try to dictate policy,” says Jamieson.
The Fight for 15 and Fairness campaign wants Premier Doug Ford to honour the pledge of the recently defeated Liberal government, which promised to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15, implement paid sick days for workers, eliminate requirements for doctor’s notes and enact measures so that employees have more notice before scheduled shifts.
Ford has currently frozen minimum wage at $14, a move that has been applauded by the Chamber of Commerce of Ontario — its Kingston chapter included. The organization has said the freeze will save countless small businesses from laying people off or closing altogether as a result of the Liberals’ promised hikes.
“We would like to remind the province that it should rule for the people, as it claimed it was going to do, rather than ruling on behalf of business,” says Jamieson.
Chamber representatives at the business expo weren’t able to give comment on the protest, saying any response would have to come on Monday.