EDITORIAL: Ford’s cut to updated labour laws bad for students

by | Oct 31, 2018 | Canadian News, Opinion

ETC Staff 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is making it increasingly difficult for those who have little.

Ever since Ford became premier, he made a few detrimental changes.

First by threatening to quash Torontoians’ ability to govern themselves, and now tampering with people’s potential income by cancelling the planned minimum wage hike to $15 an hour on Jan. 1. It is beginning to look like there is no extent to the austere Ford is willing to inflict. Adding to the uncertainty for those who eke out a living on a minimum wage, there’s no indication when, or even if, the bar will be raised under his government, even as the cost of living rises.

The first wage hike was put into place at the beginning of the year, increasing to $14 per hour from $11.60.

But Ford and his government seemingly put a bitter end to that plan.

The issue here is the hard fact that $14 per hour is simply not enough to live on, especially for post-secondary students drowning in a never-ending pool of debt. A 2017 Statistics Canada report, the most recent, showed college grads on average had $14,900 in school debts while post-secondary students on average harbour more than $26,000.

According to a recent petition by the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), post-secondary students across Canada collectively owe $28 billion in student loans.

Current students are struggling to maintain low-paying, part-time jobs in order to keep their tuition fees at bay and as graduates — hunting for full-time careers in their field of study — are stuck paying off OSAP loans.

The Premier is now holding out on money that surely would help many post-secondary students in Ontario.

Ford’s latest actions have hit especially hard for those sitting in the lower classes of the economy.

Conservatives said the wage hike would cost a lot of people their jobs and end up hurting the economy. However, a recent study shows that last year’s wage increases actually supported the economy.

Ontario has added 14,000 jobs in the accommodation and food service industry alone, since the first wage hike took place, according to a report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, one of the organizations vocal in not increasing the minimum wage.

Halting the wage increase is nothing more than a deceitful move that only benefits the corporate leaders.

This is not the first of Ford’s actions that have had a negative effect on the poor. Ford cut the guaranteed income project launched last year, while removing provincial income tax for anyone earning less than $30,000 per year. But the balance sheet in that exchange suggests that leaves the 4,000 who qualified for the project with less money.

Hopefully Ford realizes a minimum wage doesn’t cut employment and increases economic activity — as numerous studies show — and restore what would help those who need it the most.