Raise minimum wage to $14, say students

By Staff | November 15, 2013 | Last updated on November 15, 2013
2 min read

Ontario student unions are joining anti-poverty, labour and community organizations in calling on the provincial government to increase the minimum wage to $14 per hour.

“Coupled with high tuition fees, low wages make it increasingly difficult for students and their families to pay for post-secondary education,” said Alastair Woods, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “Raising the minimum wage and reducing tuition fees would help ensure no student is forced to decide between paying tuition fees and buying groceries.”

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Youth under the age of 25 account for 60% of all minimum wage workers, research from Statistics Canada shows. Many of these minimum wage workers are also students: 85% of minimum wage workers aged 15 to 19 and 44% of minimum wage workers aged 20 to 24 are in school.

Twenty years ago, a student would only need to work at minimum wage 35 hours a week for 9 weeks to make enough money for tuition fees for one year. Today, a student would have to work more than 20 weeks, more weeks than an entire summer.

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“Ontario students and youth are facing unprecedented levels of student debt and a bleak job market after graduation,” said Woods. “By increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour, the government could immediately improve the lives of students and youth.”

Students made a series of recommendations to the Ontario Minimum Wage Advisory Panel including increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour, indexing the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index, eliminating tiered wages and ending unpaid internships.

Read: Ontario businesses want minimum wage fairness

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The staff of Advisor.ca have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.