In The News
► Living Wage News/Analysis/Events ◄
- October 9, 2017, Bullet No. #1494: The Neoliberal Danger of Basic Income, OCAP
We, the undersigned, are convinced that the emerging model of basic income, reflected in pilot projects and other initiatives in a number of countries and jurisdictions, is one that would intensify the neoliberal agenda. The hope that there is any realistic chance of ensuring a truly adequate, universal payment, that isn’t financed by undermining other vital elements of social provision, is misplaced in our view.
- October 1, 2017: The Fight for 15 - What Next?
Moderated by Sean Smith. Presentations by Deena Ladd (Workers' Action Centre, Toronto) and Jonathan Rosenblum (union activist from Seattle, author of Beyond $15). Recorded in Toronto, 26 September 2017.
- September 26, 2017, Bullet No. #1489: Intentional Neglect or Callous Oversight?, Yogi Acharya and A.J. Withers
In the debate around the pros and cons of basic income, the implications for immigrants are seldom discussed. This omission, whether intentional or a product of indifference, is particularly glaring in progressive pro-Basic Income (BI) literature where the term 'citizen’s income' is often used synonymously. Taken together, a troubling picture emerges of what is imagined for basic income and who is to be included within it. While basic income is often promoted in the name of social justice, we will demonstrate that this vision is flawed and excludes migrants - which we argue is both profoundly unjust and works to reinforce the white supremacy and class hierarchies that are foundational to the Canadian state.
- September 12, 2017: Status Quo? Basic Income? No!, David Bush
Recently I was interviewed on the Dead Pundits Society podcast about Basic Income. In the run-up to the interview a number of listeners had submitted questions about Basic Income. Some of these questions were skeptical of the critical appraisal of Basic Income which myself and others have put forward. While I touch on some of these questions in the interview, I think it is worthwhile to flesh out my answers because the so frequently come up.
- September 12, 2017: What do we do when we Fight for $15
On this episode, three guests provide some perspective on the politics and the economics of the Fight for $15. First, I speak with Jonathan Rosenblum, campaign director at the first Fight for $15 at SeaTac Airport, just outside Seattle, Washington. Next, I move closer to home and talk to Sheila Block, economist at the Ontario office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Sheila lays out the context for the $15 and Fairness campaign in Ontario. Rounding out the show, economics writer and researcher Nathan Tankus returns to the podcast to discuss the economic arguments in favour of raising the minimum wage.
- August 21, 2017, Bullet No. #1471: British Columbia NDP’s Crawl to $15, David Bush
Last Tuesday the new British Columbia NDP government announced it was raising the province’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021. The new government had already announced it would raise the minimum wage by 50 cents on September 15, bringing it to $11.35 an hour. In fact, this 50 cent raise had been planned by the previous Liberal government. The announcement makes BC the third province to bring in a $15 minimum wage. This is undoubtedly a win for the larger Fight for $15 movement in Canada and the United States.
- July 19, 2017: Ontario Needs a Raise: Who Benefits From a $15 Minimum Wage?, David Macdonald
The Ontario government has committed to raise its minimum wage to $14 on January 1, 2018 then to $15 on January 1, 2019. This paper examines who in the province will get a 'raise' from the $15 minimum wage, and finds it will largely benefit the province’s most marginalized -- a broad and diverse swath of workers including contract, seasonal, and casual workers, part-time workers, women, and immigrants.
- June 26, 2017, Bullet No. #1438: The Neoliberal Writing on the Wall: Ontario's Basic Income Experiment, John Clarke
Since 2010, the UK has endured a political regime that can be considered a cutting edge of the austerity agenda. Through the film, I, Daniel Blake, people around the world have become familiar with the institutionalized cruelty of the Country’s warped system of providing social benefits to those in need. To those who endure sub-poverty misery, the humiliating intrusion of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and the ever present threat of the sanctions regime, the conclusion that anything must be better than the present set up is an easy one to arrive at.
- June 8, 2017, Bullet No. #1428: $15 and Fairness Shakes Up Ontario, David Bush
The Fight for $15 and Fairness scored a big victory on May 30 when the Ontario Liberals announced they would raise the minimum wage to $15 by January 1, 2019. The Liberals also announced a slew of other legislative changes they will introduce as part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, such as two paid personal emergency leave days, equal pay for equal work for part-time workers, requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours, an additional week of paid vacation for employees who have been with a business for at least five years.
- May 31, 2017: The $15 minimum wage is good: busting business lobby myths, Michal Rozworski
With the Ontario government seriously considering raising the minimum wage thanks to the tireless organizing efforts of the $15 and Fairness campaign, the labour movement and thousands of supporters, the business lobby is out fear-mongering in force. Here is a tool for the rest of us to fight back. It’s a collection of 5 myths and facts about raising the minimum wage: clear arguments for why $15 an hour is right for Ontario workers and the Ontario economy.
- April 26, 2017, Bullet No. #1402: Basic Income and the Left: The Political and Economic Problems, David Bush
Should the Left and labour support a demand for a Basic Income (BI)? This simple question has provoked a fervent and confusing debate. The discussion over BI touches on real political and economic anxieties. The attack on the social welfare state, the depreciating power of organized labour and an economy producing increasingly low-wage precarious jobs have led many to search for alternative mechanisms and policies to address these problems.
- April 24, 2017: OCAP Pay it Back: Post Sleep Out Delegation to City Hall
Join us on Tuesday to deliver the Toronto Robs from the Poor report to Mayor John Tory. In addition to revealing how the city has siphoned away or otherwise withheld $18 million dollars from homelessness programs, the report also documents a troubling pattern of misreporting by the City. We will demand that the money diverted away from homelessness programs be returned immediately and be used to provide much needed respite to the homeless.
- April 21, 2017, Bullet No. #1399: What Basic Income Means for Disabled People, AJ Withers and John Clarke
Disabled people in Ontario are much more likely to experience poverty than non-disabled people. Many have to live on sub-poverty payments under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or the even more wretched income provided by Ontario Works (OW). Those that are in this situation are confronted by an ongoing process of surveillance, invasion of their privacy and moral policing. Those disabled people who are working, because of systemic discrimination, are less likely to be receiving living wages and are far more likely to be precariously employed.
- April 16, 2017: Basic Income: A Way Forward for the Left?
The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been championed by both progressives and conservatives. Not everyone on the left, however, is behind the idea. Is the UBI a means of redistributing wealth, attacking poverty and protecting workers from technological displacement? Or will basic income serve to advance an agenda of austerity and privatization? Recorded in Toronto, 13 April 2017.
- February 11, 2017: Basic income – too basic, not radical enough
The idea of a basic income has gained much popularity recently and not just among leftists but also with right-wing pro-capital proponents. Basic income boils down to making a monthly payment by a government to every citizen of an amount that meets 'basic necessities' whether that person is unemployed or not or whatever the circumstance.
- February 10, 2017: Understanding Basic Income: an OPSEU position paper
In the 2016 Ontario budget, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced a pilot project to learn more about a how a 'Basic Income' might work in Ontario. The idea of a Basic Income (BI), also known as a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) and by other names, has been around for some time.
- February 7, 2017: Why We Need a Federal Job Guarantee
Universal basic income (UBI), an annual government-sponsored payment to all citizens, has been gaining traction across the American political landscape. Andy Stern, former Service Employees International Union president, believes the program will counteract the 'acceleration of technology' that he thinks will likely create 'work but not reliable jobs or incomes.'
- January 31, 2017: Fight for $15's Four-Year Impact: $62 Billion in Raises for America's Workers
The raises won by the movement that started when 200 McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King workers walked off their jobs four years ago demanding $15 and union rights are more than 12 times the $5 billion raise workers got in all 50 states after the last federal minimum wage increase, approved by Congress in 2007.
- January 23, 2017: Campaigners push Liberals for $15 minimum wage in Ontario
Labour groups are optimistic Premier Kathleen Wynne and her provincial Liberals will follow Alberta's lead and commit to raising Ontario's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
- January 16, 2017: The Curse of Econ 101
In a rich, post-industrial society, where most people walk around with supercomputers in their pockets and a person can have virtually anything delivered to his or her doorstep overnight, it seems wrong that people who work should have to live in poverty.
- January 2, 2017, Bullet No. #1350: Basic Income: Progressive Dreams Meet Neoliberal Realities, John Clarke
Up until now, the concept of Basic Income (BI) has enjoyed a greater history of being proposed than of being implemented. We may well be approaching a period, however, when this changes. The Ontario Government is holding consultations on setting up a BI pilot project. The Legislature in another Canadian Province, Prince Edward Island, has agreed to test out a version of BI. Pilot projects are also impending in Finland, the Netherlands and Scotland.
- December 11, 2016: Think This Coal Country Southerner Voted for Trump?
Nic Smith, a self-described "white trash hillbilly from the holler" has a few choice words for The Young Turks and other "left wing media" outlets in regard to assumptions about people from the South and from Coal Country. Did he believe Donald Trump when he promised to bring all the coal jobs back?
- December 2, 2016: Disrupting the low-wage status quo
Low-wage workers and their supporters in some 340 cities plan to take part in protests, civil disobedience and, in some places, strikes on November 29 to raise the demand for a $15 an hour minimum wage and a union--marking the fourth anniversary of the Fight for 15 campaign.
- November 30, 2016: Everything Goes Up But Pay
For over 12 years, Erendira Keriti has earned poverty wages that have left her scrambling to afford rent and basic necessities in Toronto’s Bloor West Village. She’s not an exception: the number of low-wage jobs (defined as having an hourly rate within four dollars of the minimum wage) has grown by 94 per cent in Ontario since 1999.
- November 22, 2016: Cinema workers strike for Living Wage
Workers at Hackney Picturehouse are on strike from Friday to Sunday after spending years trying to get their managers to address employees’ concerns. Their needs include the London Living Wage, union recognition and proper sick pay.
- November 20, 2016: Bursting at the Seams
A short video on the crisis of brutal overcrowding in Toronto's homeless shelters and a call to action. This video had it's premiere outside the building where Toronto's Mayor John Tory lives in somewhat better circumstances.
- November 19, 2016: A Starting Point
Four states saw ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage, and voters in all four states overwhelmingly approved them. Arizona, Colorado, and Maine all approved increases to the state minimum wage of $12 per hour by 2020. In Washington, the rate will go up to $13.50 by 2020. In all of these states, the rate will then go up with the cost of living after 2020.
- November 18, 2016: Living wage in Hamilton rises to $15.85 an hour, group says
Amid calls from social groups for Hamilton to adopt a living wage policy, inflation has pushed the city's figure to $15.85 an hour, Living Wage Hamilton says. That number is the minimum needed for a family of four in the city to live with a semblance of comfort in 2016, said Tom Cooper, the director for the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.
- November 15, 2016, Bullet No. #1330: Ontario’s Austerity Government Sets Basic Income Trap, John Clarke
The Ontario Government's Adviser on Basic Income (BI), Hugh Segal, has released his much heralded discussion paper, 'Finding a Better Way,' that sets out his proposals for a lengthy BI pilot project. If the experiment he advocates is put into effect, it will run parallel to the deliberations of a Security Reform Working Group that will be considering changes to the present social assistance system in the province, rather than replacement to it.
- November 10, 2016: Basic Income: A friendly disagreement
Canadian Dimension magazine talks with Nick Srnicek and Michal Rozworski.
- November 4, 2016: Universal Basic Income Is a Neoliberal Plot To Make You Poorer
Basic Income is often promoted as an idea that will solve inequality and make people less dependent on capitalist employment. However, it will instead aggravate inequality and reduce social programs that benefit the majority of people.
- November 2, 2016: How Not to Argue for Basic Income
“Change is inevitable; progress is optional” is a favorite quip of Andy Stern, who was president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) from 1996 to 2010. He took that adage to heart. Indeed part of his appeal to my generation of union organizers—who witnessed firsthand the weakening of labor over the last three decades—was his call for new models of unionism that would restore it as essential to a good society.
- October 26, 2016: Basic income - too basic, not radical enough
The idea of a basic income has gained much popularity recently and not just among leftists but also with right-wing pro-capital proponents.
- October 18, 2016: Boosting minimum wages, boosting the economy from the bottom up
Economic theory teaches us when the price of something goes up, our consumption of it falls. So theory says: raise wages, kill jobs. (Apparently that is restricted to minimum wages. CEO pay seems exempt from this scrutiny.) But what works in theory doesn’t always work in practice.
- October 17, 2016: Quebecers rally for $15 minimum wage in Montreal
Buoyed by the success of similar campaigns elsewhere, a coalition calling for a $15 hourly minimum wage in Quebec is capping a summer of action with a demonstration in Montreal on Saturday.
- October 14, 2016: Center for American Progress Advised Clinton Team Against $15 Minimum Wage, Leaked Emails Show
In late April 2015, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio sent an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, campaign manager Robby Mook, and longtime Clinton aide and CAP chief Tanden offering them a preview of an email he would later send out describing the progressive agenda he planned to promote.
- October 14, 2016: A Policymaker’s Guide to Basic Income, David Macdonald
There has been a resurgence of political interest in Canada in the rather old idea of a universal basic income, sometimes called a guaranteed annual income. Essentially, a basic income is a 'no strings attached' transfer from government to individuals or families that can be simpler to administer and provide more dignity to recipients than welfare payments and other forms of social assistance. This report simulates various potential basic income models to determine which ones do better at reducing poverty in a cost-effective way.
- October 13, 2016: Ten things to know about Canada's guaranteed annual income debate
The possibility of implementing a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) is currently one of the hottest topics in Canadian social policy. It gained momentum earlier this year when the Ontario government announced it would undertake a pilot study of the GAI.
- October 12, 2016: Bringing Social Assistance Into This Decade Can Fix Poverty Gap
Many trends of the '90s are coming back once again: a Clinton is running for office in the United States, choker necklaces and crop tops are in vogue, and the Blue Jays are once again in contention for the World Series. But here at the Ontario Association of Food Banks the biggest '90s trend we'd like to see make a comeback is adequate social assistance rates.
- October 11, 2016: Basic income is coming to Ontario: now what?
This month, the Ontario government is expected to release a report by former Senator Hugh Segal mapping the way toward a basic income pilot project and setting the stage for consultations with Ontarians.
- October 11, 2016: High Prices, Low Wages: In Cineplex Theatres Now
Cineplex announced this week that ticket prices are going up and they’re blaming minimum wage increases. The media has been giving this story a lot of coverage, but most reports read like a press release from Cineplex.
- October 11, 2016: The claim that if wages go up, jobs will go down is not a theory -- it's a scam
Few issues have moved more quickly from fringe to consensus than the “Fight for $15.” When colleagues and I suggested at a Democratic political conference in early November 2012 that we should raise the minimum wage to $15, people in the audience literally laughed.
- October 10, 2016: 2016 Living Wage for Regina and Weyburn
The Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to announce our latest Living Wage calculations for the cities of Regina and Weyburn.
- October 7, 2016: Let's make decent work a reality for all Canadians
Let’s face it: low-wage, insecure, part-time work is no way to live life now, or build a future. But today, too many Canadians – especially younger Canadians – are having to do just that. October 7th, the international Day for Decent Work, is an opportunity for all workers to reflect on our current situation and call for better jobs.
- October 7, 2016: Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign marches as minimum wage remains a contested issue
The Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign for fair wages and improved working conditions for Ontario workers seems to be storming ahead, though critics say a higher minimum wage means more expensive goods and services and reduced hours.
- September 30, 2016, Bullet No. #1309: Disabled People Give Lead In Fight Against UK Austerity, John Clarke
I recently had the enormous honour of representing the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) at a week of action and international conference, organized from September 4-10 by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) in the UK. This was another step in building a close working relationship between our two organizations. It was also fascinating and inspiring to see disabled people, not merely participating in the struggle against austerity but actually giving a powerful and decisive lead to the entire movement.
- August 12, 2016: To Cut Down Poverty, Cut Down the Cost of Living
Proportionally speaking, Americans living in poverty pay more for basic necessities. On energy bills, the poorest 20 percent of Americans spend more than seven times the share of their income than do the wealthiest. Dividing American incomes into three, households in the bottom third spend twice the portion of their incomes on transportation than the top third.
- July 22, 2016, Bullet No. #1284: Implementing Austerity By Downloading Responsibility, AJ Withers and Yogi Acharya
Laura Bardeau had bedbugs and lost all of her furniture. A single mother with two children, trying to survive on social assistance, she applied for emergency housing support from the City of Toronto's Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF). In doing so Laura was one of over 30,000 people annually who try to access this fund. As per her eligibility, Laura requested the maximum $1500 the City allots for replacing necessary furniture. That was in April. Much to her surprise, she was denied; not once, but twice.
- July 15, 2016: If Wilfrid Laurier University won't pay a living wage, then who will?
Unions helped build a strong middle class in this country, with decent wages, benefits and pensions. But those gains are steadily slipping away along with union membership itself.
- June 28, 2016: The beers of Muskoka Brewery -- Canada's first 'living wage' brewery
On June 24 Muskoka Brewery, a central Ontario cottage country beer maker, became the first brewery in Canada to commit to paying its workers a living wage.
- May 16, 2016: Expert panel says London's living wage is $15.53/h
If you live in London, you need to a make $15.53 an hour or $30,284 a year to meet your basic needs, according to a “living wage” report released Friday by a coalition of businesses and private agencies. About half of Londoners aren’t even there, according to figures from the 2011 census.
- April 1, 2016, Bullet No. #1241: Looking the Basic Income Gift Horse in the Mouth, John Clarke
Both the Trudeau Liberals in Ottawa and the Wynne Government at Queen's Park have been making noises of late on the subject of Basic Income. The last Ontario Budget, in fact, declared an intention to carry out a pilot project in a community still to be announced. While no clear details are yet available, it is very likely that we will soon be dealing with a practical initiative that we will have to respond to. We will have to consider how we view the possibility of the Liberals moving in the direction of a Basic Income system.
- November 24, 2015: Cambridge becomes first in Ontario to endorse living wage policy
Cambridge city council voted to become Ontario's first municipality to pay their employees a living wage on Tuesday night. The city is officially a supporter of Waterloo Region Living Wage who calculated the living wage in this region is $16.05 an hour. This means the city has committed to paying all full-time staff $16.05 an hour, but all of the city's full-time staff already make that much or more.
- August 19, 2015: Mandatory living wage a success in first Canadian municipality to adopt the practice
Four years into its trailblazing experiment, the City of New Westminster stands by its living wage. Vancouver has garnered headlines this year for passing a motion to make itself a living wage employer.
- May 3, 2015: From Minimum Wage to a Fair Wage
This round table brings together some of the leading North American activists and scholars concerned with the situation of minimum/low wage work. Moderated by Bryan Evans. Presentations by: Sheila Block, Don Wells, and Stephanie Luce. Recorded in Toronto, 27 March 2015.
- January 6, 2015, Bullet No. #1065: An Unconditional Citizen's Income, Ursula Huws
In these straitened times, the idea of a basic income, granted unconditionally to every citizen, from cradle to grave, feels utopian. How on earth could it be paid for, we wonder. Wouldn't everyone just stop working? Where would we be then?
- January 4, 2015: Glasgow's living-wage policy shames corporate giants
By any instrument you wish to measure it, 2014 has been an outstanding year for Glasgow. As our biggest city is the boiler house that heats the nation's economy and culture, that means that this has been a year like no other for the rest of the country too. The Commonwealth Games were successfully delivered with so much style and zip that an event that was in danger of becoming a sporting irrelevance has now been revivified.
- November 10, 2014: Bay Area Victories For Living Wage
On Tuesday San Francisco voters approved by a 77 to 23 percent margin Proposition J, which will increase the city's minimum wage from the current $10.74 per hour to $12.25 per hour by May 1, 2015. The city's minimum wage would climb to $13 per hour by July 2016; to $14 per hour by July 2017 and $15 per hour by July 2018.
- September 30, 2013: Report: The Living Wage
The right to be paid a living wage is a basic entitlement of all working people the world over. A living wage ensures that working people can earn enough to meet all their daily expenses and have some discretionary income left over to invest in their own or their children's future. A living wage, in other words, offers people a chance to work their way out of poverty.