Living wage fight heats up in Toronto
February 9, 2015
Living wage fight heats up in Toronto On February 6, 2015, hundreds of people marched through Toronto’s downtown, calling attention to the need for a living wage in the city. Co-sponsored by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, ACORN Canada and UNITE HERE Local 75, the rally included workers from cross the city, as well as labour leaders and community activists.
Together, speakers called on employers in Toronto to pay a living wage, a standard based on the average cost of living including such costs as housing, childcare, food and transportation.
As wages stagnate and housing and rental prices skyrocket, workers are forced to live further away from areas of employment. The problem is especially acute for front line service workers whose work is the foundation of Toronto’s economy in both the public and private sector. Making it worse, lengthy commutes and rising transit costs leave low-income workers squeezed for money and time.
“I work in a unionized hotel, and we’ve been fighting for years to build better jobs with better pay and benefits. I know first-hand the difference between earning a living wage and minimum wage – it’s about making it versus simply not getting by,” said Josh Cuasay, a room attendant at the Suites at One King West. “Politicians and employers need to make sure everyone gets paid enough to get by – especially in an expensive city like Toronto.”