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.