An increase of Ontario’s minimum wage by 25 cents to $8 per hour came into effect on February 1, 2007. The McGuinty government has made similar incremental increases of 30 cents per hour each year since they lifted an eight-year freeze on the minimum wage when they came to power in 2003. This increase falls short, however, of providing a living wage to low-income earners in Ontario.
Approximately 200,000 people in Ontario earn minimum wage and approximately 1.2 million workers currently earn less than $10 per hour. At the $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 for 2005. A single person working full time, and living in Ottawa would have an income $5,178 below the poverty line for 2005. Given the clear evidence that health inequities are rooted in social inequities, we support the demand that all people working in Ontario must earn a living wage by increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour.
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 and all the more so in a province as affluent as Ontario. 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 of $10 per hour minimum wage indeed “a moral imperative.”Action Requested
RNAO encourages members to write to Premier McGuinty urging him to raise the minimum wage in Ontario to $10 per hour.
It would also be great if you could send a copy to your MPP. Contact information for your MPP can be found at Elections Ontario
at Additional Opportunities for Action:
Open letter from Ontario's registered nurses to Premier Dalton McGuinty: raise Ontario's minimum wage to $10 per hour