Minimum wage should be increased incrementally to 10 percent above the poverty line by 2018, states a CMHA Ontario submission to a government appointed panel advising Queen’s Park about future changes to minimum wage. A gradual phased-in increase from the current minimum wage of $10.25 is a feasible approach that together with other tools will narrow the poverty gap without detrimental impact on Ontario’s economy.
This is one of the recommendations CMHA Ontario delivered to Ontario’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013.
Here is a summary of the recommendations:
- Any rise in the minimum wage should be measured against the unintended consequences in other policies outside the Ministry of Labour which may impact low-income workers. Policies such as those governing affordable housing policies, rent control increases (which often outstrip the rise in wages), and how a rise in wages will affect any future adjustment in social assistance rates, are issues that should be taken into consideration in advance of any wage increase.
- The current minimum wage of $10.25 be increased incrementally over 5 years to reach a wage of 10% above the poverty line by 2018
- Ontario should join other provinces and territories and index the minimum wage yearly to the cost of living, using the Consumer Price Index as the economic indicator.
- Extend universal basic health coverage (prescription drugs, vision care, and dental) to include all low-income workers in Ontario.
- Employment services should be expanded to include a full range of employment readiness activities (such as soft skill development), a more extensive job coaching component than is currently funded, and a focus on building individual capacity and skills; rather than a generic program that is focused on rapid labour market (re)entry at the expense of the job seeker.
- A provincial disability employment policy strategy should be developed that fits within a larger labour market framework.
- The current advisory panel should be expanded to include an umbrella group in Ontario that represents marginalized workers who have or currently make minimum wage.
Read the full submission to the minimum wage advisory panel.