An increase in the minimum wage to $14 has overwhelming support across the province. A CTV poll found 72% of 1,769 respondents agreed Ontario should raise the minimum wage to $14/hour.
These numbers were released as the campaign for a minimum wage was launched across the province last Thursday and Friday. Melt the freeze actions took place in 14 cities, as community members delivered blocks of frozen ice to their MPPs and to Ministry of Labour offices.
Beginning with lively rallies outside the Ministry of Labour in Toronto and Ottawa (check out photos here), creative actions took place in London, Peterborough, Hamilton, York Region, Kingston, Windsor, Belleville, Welland, Kitchener-Waterloo, Oshawa, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury!
Ice was the common denominator – with each community putting their own spin on the delivery of a frozen $10.25, calling on MPPs to melt the 3 year freeze in the minimum wage.
In Sault Ste. Marie, community members demonstrated outside the Ministry of Labour and delivered a frozen $10.25 inside a block of ice.
In Cornwall, the Cornwall and District Labour Council led a visit to MPP Jim McDonell’s office. A diverse group of London community members delivered a block of ice to MPP Deb Matthews office. In Kingston, community members held a vigil in front of MPP John Gerretsen’s office. Watch interviews from the Kingston action below.
In Peterborough low wage, precarious workers, labour activists and community organizations presented MPP Jeff Leal’s office with a block of ice with $10.25 frozen inside, as well as information on the need to melt the freeze of the minimum wage.
The Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty delivered blocks of ice to two MPPs on Friday, speaking with MPP France Gelinas, and then visiting MPP Rick Bartolucci’s office. Watch CTV footage of their visit below!
Freedom 90 and the Social Planning Council of York region visited 6 MPP offices! The delegation left behind pledge sheets requesting MPP endorsement of a $14 minimum wage. The group will be making MPP’s positions public next week.
In Kitchener-Waterloo, members of Poverty Makes Us Sick and the Alliance Against Poverty gathered in at the constituency office of Liberal MPP John Milloy. The group picketed along the street and distributed leaflets before presenting a melting block of ice outside of Milloy’s locked office. The group received widespread and enthusiastic support from people passing by.
Community Roundtable Against Poverty members delivered ice to MPP Cindy Forster in Welland. Meanwhile, HOPE led a visit to three MPP offices in Hamilton. On one visit, MPP Paul Miller took out goggles and a chisel and began breaking up the frozen $10.25.
Windsor activists delivered a block of frozen ice to MPP Theresa Piuzza, holding signs “tired of working for peanuts.” Paul Chislett from the Windsor Workers Action Centre spoke about how minimum wage jobs used to be a stepping stone to move to higher paying jobs. Now people have to make a living on minimum wage jobs – this means they have to work multiple jobs at the same time.
CAW activists and local community members visited MPP Jerry Ouellette’s office in Oshawa. Community members spoke about how hard it is for a family to survive on $10.25 and how more and more people have to go to the foodbank to make ends meet. Check out the awesome video coverage of their action below.
And in Toronto, community groups visited 6 different MPP offices on Friday – presenting a block of ice in each office.
The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage has been launched in Ontario with lots of enthusiasm, creativity, solidarity and tonnes of support from people hearing about it for the first time.
Communities from around the province came together to say we need an increase in the minimum wage now! We can’t wait for another commission to study when and how much the minimum wage should go up.
These actions are only the beginning, we need your help to spread the campaign to even more communities! Join us!
1) Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved and endorse the campaign.
2) Sign up for campaign updates by liking our facebook page here
Media coverage from across the province
Sault Ste. Marie
(This story was also picked up by 680 News, CP24 and Huffington Post)
The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is coordinated by ACORN, Freedom 90, Mennonite New Life Centre, OCAP, Ontario Campaign 2000, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Put Food in the Budget, Social Planning Toronto, Toronto and York Region Labour Council and Workers’ Action Centre