TORONTO, Feb. 1, 2007 - Ontario's registered nurses join our clients, neighbours, and community partners in urging you to raise Ontario’s minimum wage to $10 per hour.
Premier, we fully appreciate that your administration lifted the 8-year freeze on minimum wage when you came to power in 2003. We acknowledge the increase of Ontario’s minimum wage to $8 per hour that came into effect today (Feb. 1).
We are also acutely aware of the intolerable hardship experienced by the approximately 200,000 people in Ontario who earn minimum wage and the approximately 1.2 million workers who currently earn less than $10 per hour according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. At that $8 per hour wage rate, a single parent working full time, living in Thunder Bay, would have an income $6,676 below the poverty line. A single person working full time, and living in Ottawa, would have an income $5,178 below the poverty line.
The burden of ill health and early death associated with poverty is undeniable and as nurses we witness its devastating effects in our day to day work. Poverty is preventable, all the more so in a province as affluent as Ontario.
Premier, the poverty of hard-working Ontarians erodes the health of individuals, families, and our communities. Common decency, basic humanity, self-interest in building social cohesion, healthy public policy, and social justice intertwine to make this issue a moral imperative.
This is an issue that requires political will. We urge you to act quickly.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.