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Friday, October 18, 2013

Poverty Report Calls for Wage Hike

Grey Bruce | by Kevin Bernard  

Report looked at what it costs to live in Owen Sound, Grey and Bruce

A new study says nine per cent of Ontario's workforce is working for minimum wage -- that is more than double what it was nearly a decade before.

Minimum wage is $10.25 an hour in Ontario, and the Executive Director of the United Way of Bruce Grey, Francesca Dobbyn says it is not a living wage.

Dobbyn has put together a report to Queen's Park on what it costs to live in Owen Sound, or in either Grey or Bruce counties.

She says for a single parent with an eight year old and a 15 year old, a Living wage in Owen Sound would be $13.21 an hour -- while in the county, it would be $15.11.

Dobbyn says the difference is that Owen Sound has a transit system while in the county you need a car.

Currently, minimum wage works out to about $18,000 a year, while Stats Canada says you need about $34,000 to survive as a single parent with two kids.

The United Way report to the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy Review, calls for a boost in the minimum wage right away and scheduled increases annually or every two years.

Dobbyn says her budget for the study only allows $743 a month for housing, which she admits would be hard to find in Grey or Bruce.

Dobbyn expects blow-back from businesses who say they can't afford to hike the minimum wage but she says if your employees can't afford to be your customers you won't have a strong economy.


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