Ontario Federation of Labour protests minimum wage in Yonge-Dundas Square
Minimum wage raised to $11 an hour in January
A large group of activists protesting for a higher minimum wage crowded into Yonge-Dundas Square, the heart of Toronto’s retail district, on Saturday afternoon.
The rally, organized by the Ontario Federation of Labour, saw protesters carrying red balloons and calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to raise the minimum wage from the current $11 per hour to $14 an hour. The group said that a higher wage would allow families to prosper.
According to the federation the latest wage hike still leaves 16 per cent of minimum wage earners below the poverty line.
Should the proposed increase become a reality, the group estimates that the number of people below the poverty line would drop to 10 per cent.
“Ontario can still choose to take the high road for workers, ensuring we are all protected at work and that none of us lives in poverty,” said a statement released by the federation.
The rally was also geared towards shoppers in the bustling retail area to take notice of, what they call, unfair wages.
The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and a million workers in the province.
Ontario's Liberal government raised the minimum wage by a 75-cent-an-hour hike in January and promised annual increases will be tied to the rate of inflation.
Wynne called the minimum wage increase -- the first in the province since 2010 -- a "fair adjustment" that reflects the rise in the Consumer Price Index.
The provincial government said that any further raise would hurt businesses and end up reducing jobs.