Kathleen Wynne has the cart before the horse with her environmental programs. What a shock, a politician who doesn’t know forward from backwards. She’s at the midpoint in her four year majority mandate and apparently has learned nothing about how the average Ontarian struggles. Little wonder she is the second least popular premier in the country.
I remember when she was first elected as the Liberal leader. There was some hope that even though she had been part of McGuinty’s cabinet she would throw open the windows and let some fresh air blow through the place. She appeared to be less inclined towards corporate interests and more inclined towards social justice with balance.
Costs of Living Pushed Up By Wynne’s Policies
She’s busy pushing through a cap and trade carbon tax program. She’s claiming it will only cost the average resident $156 per year to implement it. Others report that figure to be more like $350 each when you factor in items like increased costs of fuel and other goods as businesses pass those costs on to the consumer.
She’s failed to reign in Hydro One and the costs of not only our hydro but the so-called delivery charges. It’s so bad for some in this province they have to choose between paying the hydro bill and eating. When we’re talking hydro, we’re talking all the basic living needs we all have. Wynne remains tone deaf to the issue.
Where is the Basic Income Program?
While she’s busy allowing policies which increase the cost of living for Ontarians, she ignores the biggest problem of all — income poverty. Far too many are trying to live on minimum wage jobs which may or may not last.
Wynne’s government is looking into running a trial program to provide a basic income to all. That could have some benefits, in that, instead of people who need income support programs having to sort out which program they qualify for, it could streamline the bureaucracy and have one program providing income support.
Sounds great in theory, but we are talking bureaucracy. And why is she not moving on getting that in place before she pushes even more people into deeper poverty?
And what about the working people?
The $11.25/hour minimum wage is not a living wage. It’s what the province mandates employers cannot pay less than. Well, unless you work in the hospitality industry, then lower wages are allowed, as the government assumes tipping will make up the difference.
A living wage on the other hand is the amount a person needs to earn to meet the basics of living in their community. The figure is based on a family of four (two adults + two children) and includes the cost of food, transportation and shelter. It doesn’t take into account debt repayment or savings.
Living Wage Network
I recently explored the website of the Living Wage Network of Canada. The network advocates with both communities and employers across the country to champion and commit to living wages.
Peterborough is one of several communities in Ontario committed to the living wage concept. In Peterborough, you need to earning $16.47/hour to have a living wage. In London, you need to earn $15.53/hour.
A certified living wage employer commits to making the local living wage the minimum they will pay their employees. The certification is done by the network and periodically updated. Employers who commit to the program realize they are investing in their workforce and will increase retention rates after having invested time and resources in training them.
So, why not just raise the minimum wage?
That is taking a hammer to what could be a collaborative process. If Wynne really wants to do something, she could bring in legislation which supports communities and employers who pay living wages? Incentives could be in the form of tax grants to employers or setting policies where living wage employers gain easier access to government contracts. I’m sure with some educated thought, many ways could be found.
When employees are paid a living wage, they become consumers of other goods and services which support employers. They also become contributing tax payers.
Income security has many benefits. So, why is Wynne putting increased costs to Ontarians ahead of improving our standard of living?