On Monday, Alberta became the first province in Canada to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. In Quebec, those who defend non-union and low-wage workers urge the government to step up and follow the example of Alberta.
About 254,000 people, or 11% of Alberta workers, currently earn less than this hourly rate.
“It would have to go faster than that, because at $ 12 an hour, it’s not a hiding place: there is no one who can live decently and decently in Quebec, in 2018, with this kind of salary there, “assured the president of the Federation of Workers of Quebec (QFL), Daniel Boyer.
Alberta is taking a big step, and we hope that Quebec will move as quickly as possible towards this $15 an hour.
Daniel Boyer, president of the FTQ
The effect on the economy
The context is conducive to the application of this measure, says the one who heads the largest central union in the province, since Quebec is currently in shortage of labor.
He adds that the “dramatic” effects that this increase would have on employment and on inflation are exaggerated. “We have very different data,” he said.
In Ontario, the increase to $14 per hour did not stop the job market from growing by 14,000 positions per month, on average, from the beginning of 2018, the highest growth since 2010.
The provincial government of Doug Ford still made the decision to freeze the minimum wage at $ 14 , unlike the former Liberal government which intended to set it at $ 15.
We are disappointed that Ontario is backing down. It would have been fun for Quebec to be the first province to do so, but we hope we will follow quickly to reach this $ 15.
Mélanie Gauvin, spokesperson for the Non-Union Defense Front
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents small and medium-sized businesses, has already voiced fears of such increases, in addition to the rise in other fees and taxes on the payroll.
Not in the plans of the CAQ or the PLQ
The two parties that are most likely to win the Quebec provincial election do not intend to make the increase, to the chagrin of unions and precarious workers’ associations.
The Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) and the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) believe that the solution is a minimum wage roughly equivalent to half the average wage.
Québec Solidaire has made a commitment to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour as of May 1, 2019, while the Parti Québécois suggests a gradual increase during a first term.
Based in Mississauga, Frank Sinjat is a Senior Editor at Spruce Tribune. Previously he has worked for SprotsNet and the Hockey News. Frank is a graduate of Sports Recreation and Leisure at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. You can reach Fredrick via email or by phone