The Federal Election is now in full swing and we have a chance to make fair wages a key election issue.
The popularity of the Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign in Ontario and similar campaigns in BC, Nova Scotia and elsewhere has pushed at least one federal party, the New Democratic Party (NDP), to promise a $15 minimum wage for all workers regulated by the federal government. We hope more political parties follow suit. Establishing a $15 federal minimum wage would be an important victory in the fight for decent work, and would send a message that workers in every province deserve at least $15 an hour.
All political parties should be serious about raising wages for low-income workers and should use every policy tool available, from implementing a $15 federal minimum wage to restoring and expanding the Fair Wages Act, which stipulates workers be paid fairly as a pre-condition for all contracts with the government of Canada. The federal government should also use its moral authority to call on the provinces to take similar steps. The vast majority of Canadians support calls for a higher minimum wage, and it’s time to let our elected representatives know this.
When candidates request your vote, ask them this:
Does your party believe that a minimum wage should lift full-time workers out of poverty? And if so, does your party support a $15 federal minimum wage that rises enough each year to keep up with price increases?
For more information on why we need a federal $15 minimum wage, download and share our 2-page Federal Election Alert and our 4-page Federal Minimum Wage Backgrounder. Over the next six weeks, let’s keep up the pressure on political parties to make decent work a priority at the federal level — and use that momentum to demand our provincial governments do the same.
Freezies and Fair Wages
In Toronto, the Fight for $15 & Fairness kicked off the month of September with a lively outreach action at the corner of Dufferin and Bloor.
Campaign supporters gathered at one of the busiest subway stations in the city to spread the word about why we need a federal $15 minimum wage and why we need $15 and fairness in Ontario.
Campaigners beat the heat by giving away cool freezies on a hot day — and the kids loved the $15 & Fairness balloons!
The campaigners included workers, anti-poverty activists, students, retirees and more. Mohammad Ali, a local hip hop artist, joined the action, collecting signatures and treating passers-by to an impromtu performance of songs that rally workers to fight for better wages and resist precarious work. Sitting MP Andrew Cash and Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton came by to show their support.
In just over two hours, campaigners gave away several hundred Federal Election Alert flyers and collected over 550 signatures in support of a $15 minimum wage and fair working conditions. Crucially, more than 65 new people signed up to get directly involved in the campaign! (And there are already plans to meet with up with them on September 22.)
Let’s talk decent work on Labour Day!
This Labour Day Weekend is another opportunity to keep the momentum going, as workers across Ontario organize picnics, fairs, barbeques, and marches. Click here to find a local event near you.
If you’re in Toronto this weekend, join the Fight for $15 & Fairness at the Labour Day Parade on Monday, September 7. Meet us between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon at the gates of Trinity Bellwoods park (Queen St. and Strachan Ave.) for tabling and outreach.
Courageous young worker takes on Starbucks
Shannon Mishimagi, a 23-year-old worker, served her former employer, Starbucks Coffee, with a $1-million lawsuit for failing to protect her from violence in the workplace.
Joined by her lawyer, family members, former co-workers, and allies from the Canadian Federation of Students and the Fight for $15 & Fairness, Shannon spoke to the media about the need for better protections for young workers. Workers should have a violence-free and harassment-free environment, yet Ontario employment and labour laws are insufficient to protect workers. Serving the lawsuit will help amplify the voices of other workers who have had similar experiences and help send a message that employers must uphold their obligations under the law.