Workers rally for increase to minimum wage in Ontario

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On Wednesday, afternoon labour unions, vulnerable worker groups and community partners marched from the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel to Dundas Square for a rally demanding an immediate increase to the Ontario minimum wage.

Listen to speakers from the rally including:

Sid Ryan (Ontario Federation of Labour President)

Lorraine Fern (Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage)

Lis Pementel (UNITE HERE Local 75) and Nazrul Islam (Richtree Worker)

Mike Story (Legal Aid Lawyer) and Immanuel Lanzaderas (Legal Aid Lawyer)

 Click here to see more photos from the rally and march

From the press release:

The Ontario Federation of Labour plans to shut down its biennial convention on Wednesday to organize a mass rally in the centre of Toronto's retail district to demand an increase in Ontario's minimum wage.

"The labour movement has always fought to raise the standards for every worker but the circumstances facing too many working people are worse than they have been in decades," OFL President Sid Ryan. "The portion of Ontario workers toiling for minimum wage has more than doubled from 4.3 percent to 9 percent over the past decade and the situation is only getting worse. Precarious work used to be the exception but it is fast becoming the norm. Ontario needs to introduce a host of measures to provide fairness and equality for every worker, but raising the minimum wage to $14 an hour is the most important first step.”

This year, the Wynne government responded to public pressure by striking an advisory panel to review the province's minimum wage and conducting consultations across the province. However, labour and community groups say that low-wage workers cannot wait any longer to earn a fair wage.

"Working hard at a job should lift you out of poverty, not drive you further into it," said Ryan. "With a minimum wage that has stagnated at $10.25 an hour, over a million workers in Ontario are languishing in poverty and falling further behind every year. All we are asking is that Premier Wynne prevent employers from paying poverty wages."

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.

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