Canadians deserve decent pay
Today, almost 1 out of 5 Canadian workers makes less than $15/hour. The time has come for fairness. Support a plan to make $15 federal minimum wage a reality.Add Your Voice
We often hear that low-wage workers are young workers, living with their parents, who don’t really need the money to survive. We also hear that raising the minimum wage will only hurt them, making it harder to break into the labour market.
While lots of young workers are employed in low-wage jobs, many adults are as well. Women and racialized workers are disproportionately represented in these low-wage jobs.
In fact, 22 percent of women earn less than $15/hour, compared to only 14 percent of men. In the federal sector, almost a third of minimum wage earners are immigrants, many of whom are workers of colour. Older minimum wage workers are also more likely to work full-time than part-time.
We also know that when the minimum wage increases, workers who earn just above that get a raise too.
Studies have found that even workers earning up to twice the minimum wage will experience positive ripple effects from a minimum wage increase. Significantly, this lower-wage ripple effect benefits young workers and women the greatest.
Minimum wage workers today are more likely to have a postsecondary degree than they did 20 years ago. But while the cost of living has increased steadily over the past few decades, a typical worker’s wages have failed to keep up.
A national federal minimum wage indexed to inflation would set a high standard for provincial and territorial minimum wage legislation.
Despite claims the sky would fall ahead of recent provincial minimum wage increases, the results in unemployment rates were negligible and inflation rates did not balloon. Further, there is no evidence of a long-term decline in employment rates among youths aged 15-24 following minimum wage hikes.
In fact, a recent study which examined 318 U.S. minimum wage increases from 1979 to 2016 found no net job losses for affected workers in the five-year period following an increase in the statutory minimum wage.
Canada can create good jobs and decent work for everyone.
This government was elected on a commitment to a federal minimum wage. Canada’s unions are working to hold them to their promises and make life better for Canadians.
With a $15 federal minimum wage included as a key priority in the mandate letter for the Minister of Labour, it’s our job to make sure that a wage increase benefits as many workers as possible.
Tens of thousands of workers in federally regulated sectors, like transport, banking, and telecommunications/broadcasting industries, would directly benefit from a $15/hour federal minimum wage. In 2017, nearly 70,000 federal private-sector workers earned less than $15/hour.
But it’s not just federal private-sector workers, a $15/hour federal minimum wage would encourage provincial and territorial governments to follow suit, with the potential to benefit nearly 2.8 million workers directly.
Research shows that increases in the minimum wage can be an effective tool in reducing poverty and inequality, such as the gender wage gap.
With so many positive direct and secondary benefits, this change has the potential to improve the lives of millions of workers across Canada.
The time has come for fairness—Canadians deserve decent pay.