Steve Mantis of the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group addresses the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel at the Valhalla Inn on Friday.
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Steve Mantis wants to see the decision of minimum wage increases taken directly out of the hands of the government.
Mantis, treasurer of the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group, explained the Ontario government has not kept up with the costs of living since the last increase up to $10.25 an hour in 2010.
“They definitely have fallen behind, and it’s timely that we need to look at this,” Mantis said. “We need to bring it in line to bring people out of poverty. Once that’s there we need to put in a regular index into inflation, so that the amount goes up automatically every year.”
Mantis was the first presenter at Friday’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel at the Valhalla Inn, where he also advocated for a reform to the current minimum wage system's approach to dealing with injured and disabled workers.
The public consultation session gave various presenters, including the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, an opportunity to speak to the panel as it made its stop in Thunder Bay.
Beth Potter, a member of the Minimum wage Advisory Panel, explained their mandate is to hear suggestions and then prepare a report for the Ministry of Labour.
She said the panel is more interested in examining ways to approach minimum wage in the future, rather than assigning a dollar amount.
“We are looking at the mechanism of minimum wage, and we’re looking for ideas and suggestions on how that might be handled going forward. The panel’s responsibility is to come up with those recommendations to advise the ministry,” Potter explained.
“It is very much should we be putting a mechanism in place so it goes up on a regular basis, should we be tying it to inflation or some other kind of economic indicator so businesses can plan for it on a regular basis.”
Mantis also added his voice to the list of those seeking a substantial raise to the minimum wage.
“We would like to see minimum wage raised to $14 an hour,” Mantis explained. “What that would do is put a single person making minimum wage for 40 hours a week right on the edge of the poverty line. Right now, if you’re making minimum wage you’re in poverty.”
The panel will report their findings to the Ministry of Labour in December.
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