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Unions, community organizations push for minimum wage increase in Quebec

Groups asking for a $15 an hour miminum wage for Quebec during a press conference Sunday December 2, 2018. Dan Spector / Global News

More than 100 groups signed a common declaration asking the Quebec government to increase the province’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Unions, student and community groups say the current minimum wage set at $12 an hour is not enough to afford a living in the province.

Quebec’s minimum wage went up to $12 an hour last May.

The raise of 75 cents — from $11.25 — marked the largest wage increase in the province’s history.

READ MORE: Quebec’s minimum wage climbs to $12 per hour as of May 1

Even with the increase, Jasmin de la Calzada, an executive member of PINAY, a Filipino women’s organization, says the migrant workers her organization helps are in a precarious situation.

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“They have many expenses to deal with, especially still providing for their families back in the Philippines,” she said.

While other governments have promised to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, de la Calzada decries that Quebec is yet to do so.

Last October, Alberta set its minimum wage to $15. British Columbia promised yearly increases until it achieves $15.20 an hour by June 2021.

WATCH: Alberta’s new $15 minimum wage the highest in Canada

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Alberta’s new $15 minimum wage the highest in Canada

The group’s plea may have difficulty finding support within the Quebec government. During the provincial election campaign, the CAQ was not in favour of raising the province’s minimum wage. Neither was the official opposition, Quebec’s Liberal party.

“We’re hoping they will listen, we’re hoping they will actually act upon doing something. We’re hoping this will shed a light on what is needed to be done here in Quebec,” de la Calzada said.

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READ MORE: B.C. to raise minimum wage to $15.20 an hour by June 2021

De la Calzada added the group will continue to recruit more organizations to support its declaration “and to show the government that there are all these organizations and people that really believe that $15 minimum wage is essential for workers here in Quebec.”

— With files from Kalina Laframboise and Raquel Fletcher 

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