On June 18th, just a week after the provincial elections that brought in a Liberbal majority, the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage sent a clear message to Premier Kathleen Wynne and the new Minister of Labour that we need a minimum wage of $14/hour.
In her acceptance speech, Kathleen Wynne made a commitment to creating good jobs for all and leaving no one behind. To fulfill that promise, she must start by raising the minimum wage from a poverty wage of $11 to $14 an hour which will lift people just 10 percent above the poverty line.
The rally was a huge success! After only one year, the campaign has grown to include a diverse group of allies and supporters. The community delegation who presented the 40 foot long petition with thousands of signatures included faith leaders, health care professionals, students, teachers, anti-poverty organizations, migrant rights groups, labour groups, and many community organizations!
Our large and diverse community delegation stood on the steps of the Ministry of Labour while Andrea Babbington, vice-president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council welcomed the crowd.
Reverend Maggie Helwig from the Anglican Church of Canada spoke powerfully on why there is no excuse not to raise the minimum wage to $14 now. Over 50 parishes across Ontario have endorsed a demand for a $14.50 minimum wage!
Sid Ryan from the Ontario Federation of Labour made it clear why the labour movement is supporting a minimum wage increase: “we need to raise wages for everyone!”
Health centres from across the province have been active in the fight to raise the minimum wage. Yogendra Shakya from Access Alliance Community Health Centre spoke about the negative health impacts of poverty and how poverty wages are making us sick.
Campaign leader and WAC member Zelda Cumberbatch spoke about how workers cannot survive on $11 and called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to take action now!
We unrolled a massive petition with thousands of signatures calling for a $14 minimum wage.
The petition was over 40 feet long and it’s growing!
A representative from the Ministry of Labour came down and collected the petition on behalf of the Minister’s office.
Members of our community delegation, including Alastair Woods, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario and Andrea Baumann from the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, spoke powerfully on why they want the new government to act immediately to raise the minimum wage.
The rally closed with some amazing rhymes from Mohammad Ali, a social justice organizer and progressive hip hop artist.
A great photo of our 40 foot petition appeared in Metro News!
Here is some additional media coverage:
Thank you to all of you who have signed a postcard or a petition. Thanks to you, we could create such a massive petition and show just how broad the support for a $14 minimum wage is!
If you have not yet signed our petition, add your voice to the thousands who have signed by clicking here