Press Release – Living wage

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For Immediate Release

Toronto should pay a living wage for city & contracted businesses, says Ari Goldkind.

TORONTO – AUGUST 28, 2014 – The City of Toronto should take a leadership role in paying a living wage instead of minimum wage, says Mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind.

Drawing on the actions of the mayors of Chicago and New York City, Goldkind suggests that the City of Toronto should take the lead in establishing a requirement that all enterprises that seek to do business with the city can only qualify if they can demonstrate a starting salary of the living wage.

Goldkind notes that the true cost of living in Toronto – paying basic rent, paying bills and buying food –needs a full-time job that pays at least $16 an hour. “Minimum wage gets nowhere close to this,”” he says, “and the current big four mayoral candidates are giving it nothing but lip service.”

“A living wage is not a handout, it is not padding municipal contracts and it is not wasting taxpayers money,” he says. “Instead, this payment structure allows people to pay their way, increase their standard of living, and contribute to the economy, as well as removing the shameful issue of having so many children living in terrible poverty. People who get paid don’t just shove the money in their pockets; they use it to buy locally – groceries, TTC tickets and basic staples – this adds to the economy. It is really economics 101,” he says.

He cites the following data:

  • The CMHC considers housing as affordable when a household does not spend more than 30% of its gross income on housing costs (rent, mortgage, utilities).
  • According to the CMHC, the 2013 average market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto was $1,007/month. For this unit to be affordable, a household must be making at least $40,280/year or $19.37/hour (assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks/year).
  • From the National Household Survey, 2011: In 2011, 44% of renters and 28% of homeowners spent above the affordability threshold on housing costs.
  • From the National Household Survey, 2011: In Ontario, 1 in 5 renters spends more than 50% of their gross income on housing. These renters often make difficult decisions between paying rent and paying for food, clothing, medication, transit or other basic needs.

Goldkind points out that the other mayoral candidates have remained essentially silent on this issue, promising vague reviews or even passing the buck back to the province. “We are a grown-up city,” he says, “we like to think of ourselves as on par with the great cities of the world, but when it comes to investing in our community, it is either fought tooth and nail, or we run begging back to the province or Feds.” Goldkind states that by insisting on a living wage, the City of Toronto both recognizes that the cost of living here exceeds that for which the minimum wage was designed, and also that the city puts people first, to create a cycle of mutual benefit.

“As mayor, I will put forth a motion to immediately require payment of a living wage of $16 per hour upon any company that wishes to work with the City,” he says. “Toronto has gone without proactive leadership long enough. It is time that we fix our own wagon.”