Local labour groups demand minimum wage to be increased
As Christmas approaches, labour activists are trying to sell the province on an idea they believe could help stabilize the community.
They want the province to increase minimum wage from the current $10.25 an hour to $14 per hour.
"Even if you are finding a full time job at $10.25, you're barely making ends meet. After paying the rent and maybe a bit of food and transportation, there's nothing left," says Deena Ladd of the Worker's Action Centre.
Organized labour points to the ongoing loss of manufacturing jobs, including the recent announcement of the 500 jobs that will be lost at the Kellogg's plant in London and they say it's one more reason why there has to be a higher minimum wage.
They believe it would offset the impacts of the manufacturing job losses.
"To pay taxes that also help towards social programs the OHIP that we have, that pave the roads and do all the other good things that we have in our community that are so important so we can have a good life," says Broderick Carey of the Oxford Regional Labour Council.
They say more and more the economy is going to rely on these service and retail industry jobs.
"People that are on $14 dollars an hour aren't going to be travelling all over the world. They're going to be spending all that money in the community which helps create more jobs and helps the economy grow," adds Carey.
But some business groups say a higher minimum wage will actually close some businesses reducing the number of jobs.
The Ontario government will soon get a report back from an advisory panel.
One of the ideas being considered is tying the minimum wage to the rate of inflation.