Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today an increase to the minimum wage,

bringing it to $11/hour effective June 1. She also promised to introduce legislation that will tie future

increases to the cost of living. The Poverty Task Force joined the chorus of labour and community groups

calling for an increase to the minimum wage and although pleased to hear it will be indexed annually to

the cost of living, the PTF is disappointed that the rate remains low. ³A small increase to the minimum

wage is better than no increase, but this move should not be confused with an effective strategy to reduce

poverty,´ says Sheila Cranmer-Byng, Coodinator of the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty

Elimination

The minimum wage should go up by a lot more than 75¢. And no, I don’t care what small business says; I care what government does. If business is hurting, let government step in and ease the pain with wage subsidies.

Or, better yet, let’s take a pointed look at the guaranteed annual income. Because the minimum wage is so useless right now that a hike of six bits is not going to make a damn bit of difference.

Consider my friend Doreen …

The Ontario government has announced that the minimum wage will move to $11 on June 1. My colleague Sheila Block has drawn the links between the minimum wage, racialized workers and poor health. But what about the minimum wage and affordable housing?

The short answer: Even with the June boost, an employee working full-time for an entire year would still only earn about half the affordable housing wage – the amount of money required to live in a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto.

The average market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the City of Toronto, according to the latest survey from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, is $1,035. That number is not much different than the $1,028 in the Greater Toronto Area.

The same day that it was reported that Jim Pattison’s net worth had reached an estimated $7.39 billion, up $1.25 billion from last year, a man on the street in Victoria asked me to buy him a breakfast sandwich from a fast food joint.

When I told him I was working on a series of articles about inequality, he said Liberals and Conservatives are all the same and that it’s tough for socialists to get elected, even though that’s what’s needed to address the issue.

To say there is inequality in British Columbia and in Canada is to state the obvious. While the wealth of our richest is the stuff of fawning headlines, the stories run beside others about the persistence of child poverty and the continued reliance of many on food banks.

The Board of Health passed a resolution last night asking the Ontario government to increase minimum wage and social assistance rates. Currently, the rates are too low to cover the costs of living, including the ability to purchase healthy food. Progress has been made in recent years by the Ontario government through the Poverty Reduction Strategy, but more must be done to ensure adequate incomes to support food security.

In 2013, the cost for a family of four to eat healthy for one week in our district was about $193.38, an increase of 2.7% since 2012. When this cost is combined with rent rates and other living expenses, many people do not have enough money to make ends meet. This prevents many Ontario families from raising healthy kids.

Representatives of the Cambridge and North Dumfries Social Planning Council provided Cambridge city council with the good, the bad and the ugly Monday night in presenting its annual Community Trends Report.

Getting down to basics in the essential areas – food and shelter – the all-time highs are disturbing.

The report found the cost of food in 2012 increased significantly, making it more difficult for people on low incomes to afford to eat.

At The Bridges, Cambridge’s homeless shelter, 8,000 more meals were served during 2012 than in 2011. The total number of dinners served for the year was 40,233.