Editorial: Let’s make it work

South Dundas politicians oppose increasing the minimum wage. The July 18 council meeting saw the municipality’s mayor, deputy-mayor, and three councillors vote in favour of sending a letter to the province outlining their stance, which is opposing Bill 148 and the Ontario government’s proposed increases to minimum wage.

How many people in South Dundas earn minimum wage or less than the $14 (January 2018) recommended minimum?

Currently, minimum wage is $11.40 per hour. With large hydro bills, unaffordable rental rates, and the cost of food ever-increasing, a wage of $11.40 is negligible. And, this doesn’t take into consideration that many minimum wage jobs don’t come in beautiful 40-hours-per-week packages and they don’t come with benefits, such as paid sick days.

Food banks are seeing more “working poor” accessing their services because there’s an increasing number of minimum-wage-earners forced to choose between paying bills or buying food.

What’s so bad about raising the minimum wage if it means it’s going to help low-income earners feed their families? Some might say there’s potential for negative impacts to small businesses, a chance of automation replacing the workforce, and increases to the cost of living.

Not all small businesses will find themselves in dire straits by this change. Some might. And, changes will need to be made and employers may need to be creative, but to throw up your hands and say small businesses will fold because of this increase is oversimplifying the matter immensely. Instead of opposing a living wage, perhaps the municipality
should investigate how to help small businesses incorporate the change without damaging their businesses.

Automation isn’t coming; automation is here. (Visit McDonald’s.)

The current cost of living is forcing some workers to visit food banks, which is why minimum wage is increasing. If the cost of living increases because of the wage change, it’s not the workers who should be penalized, but rather the people, businesses, and government entities responsible for setting the costs in the first place.

South Dundas is diverse. There are people with money and people without. Some work, some don’t. Some are employers and some are employees. Some are politicians and some are voters.

Together, we are South Dundas and together we must find a solution that works for all parties.