Friday, November 15th, 2013

Ontario Student Unions Join Campaign to Raise Minimum Wage

Canadian Federation of Students OntarioOntario student unions are adding their voice to the growing number of organizations that are calling for an increase to the province’s minimum wage.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario joined the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the Workers Action Centre, the Ontario Common Front and other community and anti-poverty organizations to support the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage. They have called upon Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to increase the minimum wage to $14 per hour.

“Coupled with high tuition fees, low wages make it increasingly difficult for students and their families to pay for post-secondary education,” said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “Raising the minimum wage and reducing tuition fees would help ensure no student is forced to decide between paying tuition fees and buying groceries.”

The province’s general minimum wage has not been raised since March 2010, when it was raised to $10.25 per hour.

Youth under the age of 25 account for 60 per cent of all minimum wage workers, with students comprising eighty-five per cent of minimum wage workers aged 15 to 19 and 44 per cent of minimum wage workers aged 20 to 24. Ontario post-secondary students pay the highest tuition rates in all of Canada.

“Ontario students and youth are facing unprecedented levels of student debt and a bleak job market after graduation,” said Woods. “By increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour, the government could immediately improve the lives of students and youth.”

Among the recommendations that students have made include:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour;
  • Indexing the minimum wage to reflect the cost of living;
  • Pay equity for workers under the age of 18, whose minimum wage is  currently set at $9.60 per hour;
  • Putting an end to unpaid internships.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario represents more than 300,000 members at 37 students’ unions in all regions of the province.

Linda Galeazzi
Author: Linda Galeazzi
Linda Galeazzi has been an online writer and proof reader for several years.
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