The new NDP government in Alberta has indicated that it will aggressively increase the province’s minimum wage from $10.20 to $15 per hour over the next three years.
The B.C. government recently announced it will increase the minimum wage in September to $10.45 per hour. Thereafter, annual increases will be automatically pegged at the rate of inflation.
An idea that would fundamentally change the way governments provide income support has received renewed attention in Canada and around the world. The idea: replace the current complex tangle of government income support programs with a single cash transfer to individuals or families.
The BC Federation of Labour is out in full force with its latest campaign to increase the provincial minimum wage to $15 from the current $10.25 per hour.
After several months of labour activists putting pressure on the Ontario government to increase the provincial minimum wage, Premier Kathleen Wynne finally succumbed and announced that she will increase it to $11 per hour from the current $10.25 rate.
What a world it would be if governments could simply legislate higher pay for low-wage workers without any ill effects. But we live in the real world and here public policy should be informed by evidence, not just good intentions. The reality that many labour activists fail to realize is that when governments mandate wage floors, there are real adverse effects. And the people hurt are often the most vulnerable with the least skills.
Any time of year is a good time to discuss poverty but the subject has obvious resonance at Christmas. Thus, unsurprisingly, Pope Francis recently wrote about the necessity of compassion for those on the margins.
In Evangelii Gaudium, the Pontiff covers much ground. He urges deliberate, thoughtful action for the world's poor and warns against the folly of loving money and worshipping consumer goods. These are calls with which no thinking, compassionate person should disagree.
The recent protests in New Brunswick against proposed hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has put a spotlight on the Elsipogtog (Elsi-book-took) First Nation, which has been extremely vocal in its opposition to proposed shale gas exploration. But however sincere these protests, they are ultimately misguided.
Every year around this time theres a flurry of studies, reports and media stories about the state of poverty in Canada, especially child poverty. We are told that as many as one-seventh of Canada's kids live in poverty. And the accompanying descriptions of the predicament of those children paint a picture of hunger and of serious deprivation.