by Veronica Silva, ABS-CBN News
TORONTO, CANADA — After years of campaigning for a pay hike, minimum wage workers in Ontario can finally look forward to $15 per hour.
Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne announced that minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour in January 2018, and $15 by 2019.
Ontario will be the second province in Canada to hike minimum pay to $15, after Alberta in 2018.
Labor groups have long campaigned for this wage hike, and Ontario responded by promising to peg wages to inflation.
“It’s a big success na ma-lift ang wages ditto sa Toronto,” said Joshua Cuasay, from Unite Here local 75. “It’s a big campaign for workers na magkaroon ng magandang pasahod ang mga manggagawa.”
“Kinampanya po naming yung 15 dollar minimum wage ayon dun sa aming organization Filipino Workers Network,” said Ben Corpuz, co-chair. “Ang benefits po nito ay tataas ang kalidad ng buhay mamamayang Filipino ditto sa ontario at mag-tra-translate ito ng maraming benepisyo sa mga pamilya at anak ng manggagawa.”
But employers expressed concern with the sudden jump in rate — from the current $11.40 to $15.
One employer said he might have to raise the prices of goods he is selling to pay his workers.
“Di naming alam kung saan naming kukunin yung mga ipapasueldo sa kanila sa isang tinapay lang na produkto namin na binebenta sa market. Mahirap sa amin pero wala kaming magagawa. Government policy is a … utos nilang gawin,” said Mel Galleon, owner of FV Foods. “Ang magagawa lang naming, tataas talaga ang mga produkto. Tataas ang mga pandesal, mga bilihin. Di lang naman ako ”
Queen’s Park also announced a package of workers’ benefits, including more paid days off and equal pay for temp agency workers doing similar jobs as permanent workers. The liberals argue that higher pay will increase productivity.
Some are skeptic about the timing of the announcement, given that provincial elections are scheduled next year.
Still, a wage hike and a package of fair workers’ benefits are good news to most workers.
[…] This report originally came out on The Filipino Channel cable TV and posted online. […]