TORONTO – Students’ unions across Ontario 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.”

According to Statistics Canada, youth under the age of 25 account for 60 per cent of all minimum wage workers. Many of these minimum wage workers are also students. Eighty-five per cent of minimum wage workers aged 15 to 19 and 44 per cent of minimum wage workers aged 20 to 24 are also students.

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.

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

Slow job creation trends and low wages in those jobs that are created have a negative impact on the overall Canadian economy.

“It is possible to strengthen the local economy and create jobs,” said Mary Long, President of the Hamilton and District Labour Council. “A minimum wage increase puts money in workers’ pockets and over $5 billion into our local economy. That’s good news for everyone.”

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 CPI, eliminating tiered wages and ending unpaid internships.

For more information on the campaign, visit:

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario

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