Tuesday, March 27, 2007

National Minimum Wage

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has issued a report calling for a National Minimum Wage of $10 an hour indexed to inflation.

Something the NDP has been calling for in Parliament as well as for Ontario.

Ironically last week on Don Newman's Politics show on CBC Newsworld Ontario Finance Minister Sorbara told Don that the reason the Liberal government was unwilling to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour immediately was because he had a report telling him it would mean the loss of 90,000 to 100,000 jobs. Now what report was that?

Back in January Sorbara claimed a $10 an hour minimum wage would lead to a loss of 66,000 jobs. So which is it? Why none of the above of course, it's all speculation.

The reality is that workers in Canada have not had a real increase in our wages since the 1980's. Yet our productivity has increased. Which is why there have been increasing job losses in manufacturing replaced with low paying jobs in the service industry.

MINDELLE JACOBS, writes in the Edmonton Sun today;

Wondering why your money doesn't go as far as it used to? There's a good reason: The median wage has only inched up a mere 1% over the past couple of decades.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) offered up that startling figure, along with an assortment of other disheartening financial tidbits yesterday, in a study calling for a $10 minimum wage.

Unemployment may be about the lowest in 30 years but that masks the hand-to-mouth reality faced by a substantial minority of Canadians.

Take that 1% increase in the median wage over the past two decades. We keep hearing about stagnant wages. Well, the median wage (in 2001 dollars) barely moved between 1981 and 2004 -- from $15.16 to $15.33.

Lots of Canadians are working but huge numbers of them are living from pay cheque to pay cheque. Sure, only 4% of Canadians earn minimum wage and most of them are teens. But there's a whole other block of workers who are making between the current minimum wage and the CCPA's proposed $10 minimum.

As has been pointed out in previous studies, 19% of workers earn less than $10 an hour. While we weren't looking, Canada became a country where almost one in five workers is barely getting by. The lucky have permanent full-time jobs, pensions, sick leave and a host of extended medical benefits. Many others can only dream of such a lifestyle. So how do you like globalization so far?


Minimum Wage

Living Wage


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Werner said...

As I recollect the minimum wage in Saskatchewan in 1969 was $1.25 per hour. Since the overall decline in the value of money has resulted in an approximate net inflation of about 1100 percent we would need around $13.75 to purchase that famous standard "basket of goods" the economics used to talk about. Some things, of course, have got very much cheaper like television sets ( say a hundred dollars for a little one which would have been less than ten of those old dollars ). Cars are better, personal computers didn't exist and so forth ...

Werner said...

"the economists used to talk about"