Groups call for $15 minimum wage
MONTREAL - More than 200 unions and labour groups on Friday called for a hike to Quebec's minimum wage.
At a press conference, the groups pushed for what they call a "liveable wage" of $15 an hour. They claim the province's current minimum wage of $12.50 an hour isn't enough for many workers -- like Jacques Beriault, who works nights at a private senior's home. He makes about $14.60 an hour but said he needs a second job to make ends meet.
"The government it's like that. If you don't do anything, they just say everything is okay. So if we speak loud, they're going to understand one day," he said.
A $15 minimum wage would allow workers a reasonable standard of living, the groups said. But one expert said the situation was more complicated.
A high minimum wage could offer an incentive to companies to automatize some retail tasks, according to Norma Kozhaya, the chief economist for the Conseil Patronat du Quebec, an organization that represents over 70,000 employers in Quebec.
But some think even $15 isn't enough.
Nathalie Busato is a dining room attendant at a nursing home. She thinks the rising cost of living will mean Quebec families may need a $20 minimum wage to sustain themselves in the future.
"We scream we want 15 bucks, but in a couple of years, we're going to go in the street and say 20 because we have to pay the bills, feed the family and everything," she said.
Quebec's minimum wage is set to rise to $13 an hour in May.
With files from CTV Montreal's Andrew Brennan