TODAY: $15.50 minimum wage, but it’s time for $20
On October 1, Ontario’s adult minimum wage became $15.50.  By fighting together you, and others like you, helped win legislation in 2014 that ensures the minimum wage is indexed annually according to the Consumer Price Index. This is an important win that will increase the wage floor for all workers and extend cost-of-living adjustments to larger cohorts each year.
But with inflation at a record high, workers need a much higher base wage to cope with the affordability crisis. That’s why we’re fighting for $20.
Here are 3 actions you can take to support the fight for a $20 minimum wage:
- Re-post these sharables on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags #TimeFor20 #Justice4Workers #ONpoli
- Print and share this booklet that explains the minimum wage adjustment with your co-workers and friends
- Make a one-time $20 contribution to the Justice for Workers campaign
Minimum-wage earners have been hardest hit by the current affordability crisis.
First, we were hit with the 2019 wage cut when Doug Ford cancelled the scheduled $15 minimum wage. That cut permanently reduced workers’ earnings. Now, as a result of the COVID pandemic, war, and climate change, we’re facing record-breaking price increases for necessities like food, shelter and transportation.
Workers are at a breaking point.
According to the latest Statistics Canada data, the price of groceries has accelerated by a staggering 11% – the fastest rate since 1981.  People were already appalled by the record profits raked in by corporations like Loblaws, Walmart, and Amazon during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone watched these companies cancel pandemic pay and refuse to implement basic protections like permanent, employer-paid sick days.
Now there’s growing evidence that corporate grocery store monopolies like Loblaws, Empire, and Metro are still gouging us with unnecessary price hikes to increase their profit further while keeping wages painfully low. 
As Deena Ladd from the Workers’ Action Centre explains:
“The way to fight the affordability crisis is to legislate a $20 minimum wage and improve employment standards. We are proud of winning legislation back in 2014 that delivers annual cost-of-living adjustments. But the base rate is far too low and it's clear that $15.50 won’t pay the bills. It’s time for a $20 minimum wage for all with no exclusions.”
Here are the facts:
- In 2017, workers won legislation (Bill 148) that increased Ontario’s minimum wage from $11.60 to $14 on January 1, 2018. The wage was scheduled to increase to $15 on January 1, 2019.
- One of Doug Ford’s first acts as Premier in 2018 was to cancel the scheduled $15 minimum wage and suspend legislated cost-of-living adjustments for two years.
- As a result, it’s estimated workers lost between $3,000 and $6,000 of income. 
- This cut amounts to nearly a dollar an hour (see table below), and has permanently reduced workers’ pensionable earnings, vacation pay, Employment Insurance benefits, and other legal entitlements based on wages.
- According to the latest Statistics Canada data, the price of groceries has accelerated by a staggering 10.8% - the fastest rate since 1981. 
- Now there’s growing evidence that corporate grocery store monopolies like Loblaws, Empire, and Metro are still gouging us with unnecessary price hikes while keeping wages painfully low. 
- A report sponsored by the Daily Bread Food Bank shows that a $1 increase in the minimum wage would lead to about 36,876 fewer visits to food banks annually in Toronto and 187,756 fewer visits across Ontario. 
- It is time for a $20 minimum wage and an end to sub-minimum wage rates for students under the age of 18, and other exclusions that deny workers full Employment Standards Act protections. 
If you're a minimum wage earner, be sure to check you next pay cheque to make sure it reflects the new minimum wage rate.
But let’s not let Premier Doug Ford claim credit for following a law that we brought into being. And let’s redouble our effort to win a $20 minimum wage for everyone!
– Pam Frache on behalf of Justice for Workers
 See the Ministry of Labour guide here. Not all workers earn the adult minimum wage. Students under 18 years of age who work part-time and attend school earn less and will see their wages adjusted from $14.10 to $14.60 per hour. Other workers, such as farmworkers, are excluded from minimum wage protections.
 Statistics Canada: Consumer Price Index, August 2022
 “Supermarkets are hiking prices faster than necessary — and profiting from inflation, Star investigation suggests,” Toronto Star, July 18, 2022
 Workers paid a Steep Price, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, November 8, 2021
 Increase in Food Bank Visits Directly Associated with Government Policies: New Report, Daily Bread Food Bank, March 23, 2022