Community organizers calling for increase in Quebec minimum wage ahead of economy debate
More than a hundred unions and community groups signed a joint declaration this week, calling for minimum wage to increase to $15 an hour.
Workers say that with rising costs, the current minimum wage of $12 an hour isn’t enough.
“It’s become difficult in the last one or two years,” said Manon Goulet, a waitress. “Lots has changed.”
114 groups signed the declaration and hope that the CAQ government takes notice before Monday’s debate on the economy.
“If we can think of families, we can think of single moms, we can think of precarious workers right now that wouldn’t have to juggle as much and…work only one job with a decent wage,” said Emilie Joly, a community organizer with FRAPRU.
Alberta’s minimum wage is $15 an hour, while British Columbia plans on reaching it by 2021.
Doug Ford has decided to freeze Ontario’s minimum wage of $14 an hour until 2020.
Under its previous government, Ontario had also committed to a $15 an hour minimum wage.
However, some economists say that a rapid increase could lead to negative effects on the economy.
Prices can increase, and businesses may reduce employee hours or cut positions altogether.
“We just have to look across the border in Ontario,” said Alexandre Moreau of the Montreal Economic Institute. “Since January, about 56,000 workers below 25 lost their jobs and at the same time we saw a spike in prices for food bought in restaurants.”
Restaurant owner Manny Michakis says he wants his employees to be happy.
“What I think they should do is just lower the federal and provincial tax,” he said. “And with that, the employee is going to be left with something more.”
The CAQ declined a request for comment, but said that employment minister Jean Boulet is analyzing a variety of options.