Hello Pigeon!

With recent changes to minimum wage here in Ontario, there has been lots of discussion about what a living wage is.

During a recent press conference, Premier Doug Ford, claimed there is a labour shortage in Ontario, after announcing the minimum wage will go up to $15 per hour, even though he and his party were strongly against this when first elected. They had rolled back this increase that was supposed to take place in January 2019. During the announcement, both President of OPSEU Smokey Thomas and UNIFOR President Jerry Dias stood next to the Premier, what appears to be praising the Premier about this raise in minimum wage.

It is quite disturbing that two Union Presidents were standing next to the Premier, even though he has not been very supportive to workers or small businesses in Ontario. If Premier Ford was, he would have raised the minimum wage when it was supposed to be raised, gave paid sick days, signed onto the national childcare / pharmacare, and the list goes on. This does set the labour movement back because Premier Ford made it look like they were working together. I hope Pigeon, that the members of the unions hold their leaders accountable for this betrayal. I am a union supporter and have always been one Pigeon, but this action by these two union Presidents, leave something in my mouth I just cannot swallow.

According to Living Wage Ontario website, the livable wage in the GTA is $22.08 per hour, based on full time employment. This is just a livable wage; this is not living your life kind of wage. Currently, the min wage is $15 per hour, but many places are offering only part time employment. It raises the question, what good is 75 cents going to do for you as a worker? Really Pigeon, this does nothing especially if you can only find part-time work. You are better off staying on EI because at the end of the day, your health is not worth the risk and certainly, you need a work/life balance for your mental health.

This should be a major wake up call to any business that does not offer a living wage job to do better. To suggest the prices will go up based on this information is indeed false, because if this were the case, wouldn’t prices have gone down when self check-outs started, or self serve gas stations started? If you want employees and good ones, then you need to treat them fairly and a living wage is part of the respect that you should be showing. If you cannot do that, then I am sorry, you do not deserve employees.

Here is the challenge to Premier Doug Ford, we want you to live on $15 per hour for a three-month period, no additional income, no additional help, no benefits and must pay all your own expenses like getting to and from work. Doug Ford, how about it? Are you up for the challenge?

Let’s be real Pigeon, its not a labour shortage, it is clearly a full-time living wage job shortage. No one should rely on food banks to survive if they are working. Why should anyone have to work three part time minimum wage jobs to pay their rent? It is not good for your mental health, and quite frankly Pigeon, we all deserve better because COVID has taught us many things, and living your life instead of working yourself to death, is the only option. If other countries can do it, like some European countries, surely, we can in Ontario too!

How about Premier Doug Ford, are you going to take us up on our challenge Pigeon? You can contact Premier Ford here.

Stay safe and live your life Pigeon.



About the Author

Geri Atrick is co-host of Not So Str8 Talk, a show that focuses on marginalized & 2SLGBTQ+. Geri also organizes national events around music and the arts, is deeply passionate and active in politics, and is an advocate on many social justice issues. Giver her a little wine and you will never know what she will say. Check out the show at www.str8talk.ca or at Hunters Bay Radio