TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - New research prepared by Social Planning Toronto and the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage shows that in Ontario, large employers are the biggest culprits in perpetuating a low-wage economy.
Data from Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey shows that in 2013, large firms with over 500 workers employed almost 50% of Ontario's half-million low wage workforce. Large firms increased their hiring of minimum wage workers by over 190% since 1998. Further, 30% of all Ontario employees in large firms were paid at or below minimum wage, compared to just 5.6% of small firms (less than 100 workers).
The full report can be downloaded here.
"Many people think that a higher minimum wage will hurt small businesses, but it's more likely that raising the wage floor would help level the playing field between small businesses and large employers that profit from maintaining a low-wage workforce," said Navjeet Sidhu, the report's co-author. "The research suggests that raising the minimum wage is as much a matter of fairness among employers as it is for workers."
"Clearly, minimum wage workers are increasingly and disproportionately being employed by large employers," said Deena Ladd, coordinator of the Workers' Action Centre. "This growth of low-wage and unstable employment underscores the urgency of the Ontario government's promise to modernize Ontario's employment standards to reflect the reality of today's labour market."
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has been mandated to undertake a comprehensive review of both the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act and the review is expected to take place in 2015.
Meanwhile, Walmart workers in the United States are taking strike action on November 28 to demand a $15 minimum wage and full-time hours. According to Walmart's own records, the company generated nearly $13 billion in profit for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2014.
SOURCE: Social Planning Toronto
For further information: Navjeet Sidhu: 416-997-3385, www.SocialPlanningToronto.org; Karen Cocq: 647-970-8464, www.RaisetheMinimumWage.ca