NDP Calls on Premier for Commitment on $15 Minimum Wage

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier. Many Ontarians are finding it harder than ever before to pay for things like decent child care, to pay off student loans, to pay their hydro bills. Many are finding it much, much harder to secure a future for themselves and their children. While bills go up, however, wages are staying flat. One in three people in Ontario earns a low or minimum wage. Will this Premier take action and agree today that instead of raising the minimum wage by 15 cents, she raises it to $15 an hour?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, the process that this Premier is so proud of will have the minimum wage go to $15 an hour and sometime 20 years from now. Twenty years from now or more, this province will have a $15 minimum wage under the Liberal plan. It’s not good enough.

There are things that we need to do now to make sure people can have a decent job and a decent living. We’ve called for some of those things, of course. The $15 minimum wage is one of them. We want to make it easier for folks to join a union, which is the best ticket into the middle class in this province, and make sure that they can get a first contract when they do so. There’s no reason in this province why temp workers should not be paid the same rate and get the same benefits as the people that they’re working right beside in the same workplace.

The list goes on and on and on. When will this government start taking action to improve the quality of work in this province like, for example, increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: They’re doing a lot of looking and a lot of talking but they sure aren’t acting to make change in this province, to bring people who are working out of poverty. It is shameful that people working full time in this province do not earn enough money to put food on the table and a roof over their head.

The Premier likes to talk about her 15-cent increase to minimum wage, but people in Ontario are at a breaking point and they know that 15 cents simply is not enough. People need good jobs and they want to know that the next generation is going to have the kind of jobs that you can actually build a good life on right here in this province.

They need a $15 minimum wage. They should be able to join a union. They should be paid fairly for the work that they do. People want to know there’s a future for them and for their kids here in this province. Will this Premier take the first step today and make the commitment to bring Ontario’s minimum wage to $15 an hour?