Here is an excerpt of yesterday's article from the Star: (http://www.thestar.com/article/538716)
Forget dreams of a $10 minimum wage lifting thousands of workers out of poverty. A couple raising two young children in the GTA would each need to earn at least $16.60 an hour to have a decent quality of life, says a new study to be released today. A single parent with one child would need to earn $16.15 an hour.
Ontario's minimum wage is $8.75. It will rise to $10.25 in 2010.
Employers and government must look beyond minimum wages towards the concept of a living wage that allows workers to raise healthy, happy children; enjoy recreation, culture and entertainment; and participate fully in modern life, says the study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
And living wages should be part of the broader effort to address poverty in Ontario and Canada, including poverty among employed people, the report adds.
"There's a big difference between having enough to survive and having enough to participate in the life of the community" said economist Hugh Mackenzie co-author of the report. "The living wage is the income threshold a family has to cross to avoid being marginalized."
The living wage described in the report is still more than $5 an hour less than the 2007 average of $21.70 an hour for the area, said John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.
"We're not talking luxury," he said yesterday. "We're talking about an income that allows your kid to go to a movie or to the dentist before their teeth rot. It's about being able to afford to buy your 80-year-old grandmother a birthday present. Pretty basic stuff."