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2014-01-14 at 22:07

Wage talk

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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Raising the minimum wage is better for everyone an economist says.

Kaylie Teissen, part of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, told a crowd at Lakehead University Tuesday night that a full-time worker in Ontario earning minimum wage, around 464,000 in the province, is 20 per cent below the poverty line in Canada. But that wasn't always the case. Until 1995, the minimum wage was helping people keep their heads above water.

"I think we could do that again today," Teissen said. "It could mean going to the movies or going on vacation or actually being able to afford child care."

Pushing the minimum wage from $10.25 to $14 would benefit local economies by giving workers more purchasing power.

"And we would be able to get the economy moving again," she said.

As for raising the cost of doing business, Keissen said businesses don't necessarily have to put that increase on consumers.

"They can also look at the business model and start to change the way the business functions," she said.

Ontario Native Womens Association health policy analyst Allyson Jackson said that studies show poverty is linked to poor health.  

"It aggravates all of the other situations that cause issues with health and well being," she said.

Raising the minimum wage could help people get out of poverty, which 50 per cent of Aboriginal children are in currently.

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Comments

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Dudebro says:
Business will put the cost onto consumers guaranteed. If a business loses one red cent today that they didn't lose yesterday you can guarantee they will raise their prices/rates etc or lay off. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING is about 100% profit now and nothing else.
Just look at the city run daycares they're crying about now, if those daycares lose a couple kids and aren't running at absolute capacity to maximize profit then they're looking at shutting them down or reducing the service level. They're supposed to be providing a service and just because they're not making the absolute maximum profit doesn't mean they need to be shutting them down. The whole vision of city run services has been lost.
1/14/2014 10:42:03 PM
thommyt says:
First of all, "profit" is not a dirty word, but a necessity for any business. If a business is not able to make a profit, it cannot afford to hire new staff, or continue to employ existing staff.

As a small business owner, I find both my customers and staff overstimate margins, and understimate expenses. While I agree there should be an increase in the minimum wage, a hike of the magnitude suggested would, in my opinion, not be affordable to most small business owners.

A wage hike of this magnitude would necessitate either an increase in prices, a reduction in staff, or both. That might be bad news for a lot of people, but it is the reality
1/15/2014 11:12:51 AM
tsb says:
If a business can't afford to pay its workers a higher minimum wage, it simply isn't being managed very well. A truly successful business only pays its employees minimum wage for a brief period, if at all.

In addition to raising the minimum wage to more reasonable and market-responsive levels, we need to help businesses be more successful so that they can afford to exist if they find themselves in situations where they have employees.
1/14/2014 11:04:58 PM
yqtyqt says:
"If a business can't afford to pay its workers a higher minimum wage,it simply isn't being managed very well." You've got to be joking right? You know that for a fact?

There are all kinds of reasons that businesses are hanging by a thread. Market and economic conditions, wages, rent, taxes, employee costs, cross border shopping, competition from big box stores, competing with foreign made products, utility costs, & over-regulation, etc.

There are lots of success stories out there, and employees are rewarded according to the ability to pay. But if you think raising the minimum wage will help, then you're dead wrong.

But if you want to dictate a higher minimum wage, then you can expect that local businesses who are trying to compete will close up, lay off employees or will raise their prices. When the margins are slim, something has to give.

To make a blanket statement like "isn't being managed very well" is simply foolish.
1/15/2014 9:41:14 AM
GregT says:
Ummmm....no.....

That may be true of skilled trades or professions, but retail, food service or customer service based businesses have to minimize all expenses often just to maintain profitability. This is especially true of local businesses who have to compete with gross buying power of larger distributors who can negotiate lower costs based based on volume.

Last time this increase occurred, we had to cut staff by 5-10%. If the increase is ~30% (10.25 to 14), we will have to do the same.

1/15/2014 4:10:28 PM
Fozi says:
"They can also look at the business model and start to change the way the business functions". Ie. Cut jobs and hours.

It's such a lazy play to say 'no, we can raise the business' cost without them raising prices. They just need to figure something out.' Has anybody noticed the problems stores like Target, Zellers and Sears have been having in Ontario? It's an expensive place to do business. Raising minimum wage increases direct wages, vacation pay, cpp, EI, WSIB payments for the business. Let's say you're a small business and this raise costs you an extra $4.25/hr per employee. If you're open 10 hours a day with 3 minimum wage employees, that's a little over $45,000 a year. Pretty quickly it makes a lot more sense to make due with 2 employees.
Build more low-income housing, try to control basic costs like hydro/water prices. But I don't see how just raising minimum wage and pushing up the poverty line helps in the long run.
1/14/2014 11:33:43 PM
musicferret says:
"As for raising the cost of doing business, Keissen said businesses don't necessarily have to put that increase on consumers."

Remove the "don't necessarily have to" part and you have a factual statement. This woman appears to be a crackpot, seeing as she is basing her entire argument on a premise that is verifiably false. Businesses WILL OF COURSE pass on the additional costs to the consumer, or simply cut staff.
1/14/2014 11:56:13 PM
nvjgu says:
An Employer I know has stated he will close shop the day after Min wage it go's up. There's 6 people working there.
1/15/2014 3:24:51 AM
nvjgu says:
Makes one wonder if WSIB is pushing this. It would effectively reduce peoples benefit's the same amount. Most everybody according to WSIB are able to earn min wage, if min wage goes up benefits go down. That is true for most disabled.
1/15/2014 4:43:54 AM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
Another option would be to rewrite the free trade agreements bringing back the manufacturing jobs that were lost. The government should be working to lift people out of proverty not helping them into it.
1/15/2014 6:38:12 AM
circca says:
People understand that minimum wage is supposed to be minimum right? Its not meant to get you lots of spending cash and two iphones a tablet and a big screen tv.. want the luxuries? Go get a better job like everyone else
1/15/2014 7:15:29 AM
Reignmaker says:
The issue is that the minimum wage leaves people below the poverty line.

Since you may not know what that is, I will explain. The poverty threshold, or poverty line, is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country. If a person is paid below the poverty line, they are not being paid adequately enough to cover their costs of living(1). This has nothing to do with TVs or other luxury items. The person's statement about going to the movies and such was stupid. However, this should not detract from the issue at hand.

I agree that the wage hike to $14 is pretty high and doing so will likely push the poverty line higher.

(1)Ravallion, Martin Poverty freak: A Guide to Concepts and Methods. Living Standards Measurement Papers, The World Bank, 1992, p. 25
1/15/2014 11:28:56 AM
festus says:
If this idiotic proposal dose happen. I sure hope my current $14/Hour job get the same wage increse. I already feel underpaid for what I do and Hours SUCK....
1/15/2014 7:39:20 AM
bgal says:
As a small business owner, rest assured that if the minimum wage increases by almost $4 an hour, we certainly will look at our business model. Unfortunately, that will mean cutting back. Cutting back hours of operation, and employees. If we are expected to not raise prices, how are we supposed to come up with the extra moeny to pay our people? We already pay above minimum wage to our staff and enjoy being able to do so. That will change in a heartbeat if this raise takes place. Anyone who says businesses that cannot afford to pay $14 an hour for minimum wage jobs is not being managed properly has obviously never ran a business. The costs are astronomical and small business owners should be applauded for their efforts.
1/15/2014 8:13:31 AM
Dockboy says:
Oh, not this again. This would be devastating to the economy by way of inflation and job losses. Instead of a handout, work your way out of a minimum wage situation by education or training.
1/15/2014 8:38:58 AM
Rob20 says:
There are technical jobs and skilled jobs out there that are barely making low to Mid-$20 an hour salaries. Jobs that require a college or university education, some a masters degree, or a very focused and learnt trade or skill. And now you want to tell us that the person serving coffee at robins donuts or greeting somebody at the Walmart stores is going to make only five bucks less than some of those jobs? I'm sorry that doesn't make sense. It may increase the buying power of those on the lower end of the scale but it dilutes the salary of the people on the higher end as well at the same time. And it's not hard to guess that businesses are going to claw back the extra money they have to put out for Low end salaries by charging the customer more or simply by having less employees on staff. That's the Reality of the job market today. If you want a higher paying job go get the education or the trained skill to obtain a higher paying job.
1/15/2014 9:12:27 AM
Ed Hipster says:
Agreed. I have 3 college diplomas and work in a professional position. I deal with million-dollar clients and do consulting work that our clients pay $85 per hour for. I however make less than $15. If minimum wage goes up to $14/hour and I can direct people to the cart area as they walk into walmart and make the same amount I do now, with no stress, no working overtime, and no taking calls on the weekends at home, I think I may rethink my career path. Why did I rack up $30,000 in student loans again? When I could've dropped out of high school and made the same amount of money. I'm all for people making more money. And I know that it is impossible to survive on $10/per hour. I find it hard to survive on $15.
1/15/2014 11:06:16 AM
ring of fire dude says:
Basically when you pay minimum wage like most bushiness's do there isn't much left to put back into the local economy after all the bills are paid . Heaven forbid all the government jobs in ThunderBay disappear when the Gov't slashes jobs to balance their books , this City runs on Gov't welfare/make work projects .
1/15/2014 9:13:52 AM
yqtyqt says:
You're exactly right ring of fire. The city (like most of Ontario) thrives and exists on government jobs & debt. When the bubble bursts or the government finally realizes that it can't print money forever, there is nothing to fall back on.

Thunder Bay is "civil servants central". Including the contractors such as bombardier and the government agencies, there is no industry here.

Governments will need to balance their budgets, sooner or later. Overspending and running deficits is not sustainable forever and a day.

All debts get called in at some point. All published material from anyone who is worth reading would point to the "day of reckoning".

But, the dreamers will continue to dream. And the spendaholics will continue to spend.

When overspending is finally recognized, everyone will look to an already overtaxed, overextended private sector to bail them out.
1/15/2014 3:27:22 PM
GrapeSoda says:
I don't think this is a black or white issue. People are saying to provide more social services, but when you increase social services you are going to have to increase taxes. Passing the cost on to the average tax payer more so then the business.

If you take a look at how the minimum wage has risen over the years, and compare it to the inflation over the same period, you will see there is something a bit off.

Raising the minimum wage would allow people to spend more money, so those businesses that are suffering from paying people more, would hopefully get customers who are able to spend more in their stores.

I don't think jacking the minimum wage way up is going to solve all the issues, or that it isn't going to cause different problems. The bottom line is that with the growing divide between upper class, middle class, and lower class citizens, this is a conversation that needs to happen. Some measures need to be taken to insure it doesn't continue to get worse.
1/15/2014 9:37:40 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
Instead of raising the min wage. Why don't you do more to lower the tax rate of the people making min. wage? That would be far better than raising wages. But noooooooo lets keep going to the trough for more and more money. I smell unemployment coming for some people.
1/15/2014 10:28:34 AM
The Ultimate Warrior says:
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

THE POWERS ARE GETTING WEAK. CANNOT AFFORD TO GO ON VACATION.

IN 1995, AT $6.85 WE HAD ALL OF THE POWER IN THE WORLD. NOW, AT $10.25, WE ARE BROKE.

WE NEED MORE VACATION MONEY TO BOOST THE ECONOMY

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
1/15/2014 10:31:47 AM
strykout says:
This is ridiculous. I went to college and got an education and the starting wage in my line of work is around $14.

I worked hard to get my raises and thankfully am making more than starting wage now, but my rate probably won't increase with this big jump in minimum wage. So I'll have spent all that money, time, and effort to be making just a few dollars more than minimum wage.

Prices of goods and services WILL increase while the rest of us who don't work min wage jobs will continue making the same amounts.

If you want to make $14 an hour, get a job that deserves that rate of pay.
1/15/2014 10:52:24 AM
Tannoy says:
If you raise the minimum wage the poverty line just raises with it, it doesn't fix anything and long term it makes things worse, an economist should know that.
1/15/2014 11:20:08 AM
caesarjbasquitti says:
"Raising the minimum wage is good for everyone"

Really, then why does not China implement this.

Sorry this consultant cannot think critically...there will be winners and losers.

Seems the best way to approach the problem of people living in poverty, is for the government to reduce is waste of money on such things as 'illuminated morse code lighted fingers' ie the waterfront, and provide some type of 'guaranteed income' for working people.

Why the government ? Well with the advent of the 'selling out' of Canada with free trade and cheap imports from third world countries our manufacturing sector is under unfair pressure.

So the government with all its imposed taxes and power, should balance its spending. Too many people, starting with many politicians who were making minimum wages now making considerably more as politicians with no accountability.

Rethink this, lower taxes, guaranteed incomes, and hopefully the government will at least buy Canadian when it spends our money.
1/15/2014 1:52:44 PM
Baor says:
China has a population of over 1.3 billion, of which well over 1 billion are still peasants using anybody's yardstick. Furthermore, when was the last time a strike happened in China without someone disappearing forever? .... Never. The censors won't even allow negative words about the economy to be printed. Caesar, you should use a different country before drawing comparisons to ours. People emigrate from China TO Canada....not the other way round.
1/15/2014 10:45:32 PM
mystified says:
Lets keep all those minimum wage earners at or below poverty. Those people shouldn't be allowed to have any extras or be happy and provide a comfortable healthy life.

If they are all happy and didn't have to resort to criminal activities to make ends meet what will I have to read and complain about on tbnewswatch.

That's what I read from all the other posts.

There are millions of people working for minimum wage. Not because they are lazy and don't want to strive for a higher paying job. It's because the job they trained for want someone with experience and the person applying can't get the experience...the ole catch 22.
Maybe the person can't afford the dollars to pay their portion of a training program because the current minimum wage is not enough.
30% of retired people go back to work because the cost of living eats up their funds.

Don't be to quick to damn the minimum wage earner. You could be there sooner than you think.
1/15/2014 3:30:37 PM
wrenchman says:
So I have a job making $14/hr which took a couple of years to get to now they raise the rate and I am back to making min wage??? how is that fair all wages should go up also the same amount to keep it fair. Why does min wage keep catching up to the trades. Want a job with better wages GET AN EDUCATION and earn it instead of whining about it. Don't want an education then you make less money that is how it works....
1/15/2014 6:32:00 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
Let's hope that if they raise minimum wage, we can also raise work ethic for these people who seem to want all of these handouts and do absolutely nothing more to benefit.

I would like to see a bit more initiative from lots of these minimum wagers; when you act like you don't give two craps about your job or the service you provide, why should I give a crap about giving you extra money to do nothing more than what you are doing currently?

*cane shaking*
1/16/2014 12:55:09 PM
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