$15 minimum wage would help women climb out poverty, Quebec activists say
Unions, anti-poverty groups join forces to push for hike
A coalition calling for a $15 hourly minimum wage in Quebec is turning its focus toward female cabinet ministers, arguing a raise would help women climb out of poverty.
The group, which is made up of unions and anti-poverty groups and known as 5-10-15, is holding protests today outside the ministers' offices.
Women are overrepresented in low-paying jobs and would benefit from the increase, the group said in a statement.
"It's not fair," said Mélanie Gauvin, one of the protesters.
About a dozen protesters held a rally outside Lionel-Groulx Metro station Monday morning, holding signs and handing out pamphlets.
Protesters now in front of Dominique Anglade (Econ. minister)'s constituency office, waiting for a meeting at 9 <a href="https://t.co/AyCylBf5gV">pic.twitter.com/AyCylBf5gV</a>—@CBCShaun
The group then met with Economy Minister Dominique Anglade at her constituency office.
"They received us well. They told us they would take into consideration all the points we brought up," Gauvin said.
Support for $15 minimum wage growing
Quebec's current minimum wage is $10.75 — it was raised by 20 cents this spring. But Finance Minister Carlos Leitao has dismissed the idea of raising the province's minimum wage to $15 an hour in the near future.
Other jurisdictions, though, have proven more receptive to the idea.
The U.S. states of New York and California have approved measures to gradually implement a $15 minimum wage.
Labour unions and anti-poverty activists across the country have long been calling for a higher minimum wage as a way to reduce inequality and help lower-earning Canadians.
Alberta will move its minimum wage to $15 by 2018, while Ontario just increased its minimum for the third consecutive year and is considering whether to provide a guaranteed minimum income — a no-strings benefit that could replace various targeted social benefits.
Rallies to urge the government to raise the minimum wage have been held in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.
Business and industry groups have opposed the idea, saying it would have a negative impact on jobs and hurt the very workers it is designed to protect.
with files from The Canadian Press