Higher minimum wage a boost for health

Posted on October 4, 2018 in Health Debates

TheStar.com – Opinion/Readers’ Letters
Oct. 3, 2018.   Doris Grinspun

Re: Hike minimum wage, Sept. 28

Nearly two million people living in poverty in Ontario will suffer if the Doug Ford government follows through with plans to slam the brakes on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in January.

A higher minimum wage enables more Ontarians to maintain their health rather than fall prey to illnesses such as malnutrition, diabetes and heart disease, which impose far greater costs in the long run.

While the benefits of higher wages are grounded in research evidence, the claims of this government are not. Studies show that when governments raise the minimum wage, those who need help the most have more money to spend and that extra spending creates jobs — more than replacing those that might be lost.

For 13 of the past 25 years, Ontario failed to increase the minimum wage. That lack of support made families fall farther behind as stagnant wages lagged behind the growing cost of living for basics such as food and shelter.

When the previous Liberal government committed to boost the minimum wage from $11.60 to $14 an hour in 2018, then to $15 in 2019, it was not too much, too quickly. It was barely enough and most overdue.

When he was campaigning to become premier, Doug Ford said that “Nothing is more important than your health, that without it, you’re done.”

We agree. But words alone are inadequate when they are undercut by actions that will hurt the most vulnerable among us.

Doris Grinspun, RN, CEO, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario


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