News / Winnipeg

Manitobans rally for $15 minimum wage

The rally included members of Make Poverty History Manitoba and the Manitoba Federation of Labour.

Attendees of a rally to increase Winnipeg's minimum wage to $15 an hour on the steps of the Manitoba Legislative Building Tuesday.

Jade Markus / Metro Order this photo

Attendees of a rally to increase Winnipeg's minimum wage to $15 an hour on the steps of the Manitoba Legislative Building Tuesday.

Close to 100 people gathered on the steps of the Manitoba Legislative Building Tuesday, holding flags and signs, looking for wage action similar to that seen in other provinces.

The rally included members of Make Poverty History Manitoba and the Manitoba Federation of Labour, urging the provincial government to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour. Such change is already underway in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.

“People who work full-time shouldn’t have to live in poverty, and sadly our minimum wage is that,” said Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour.  

Manitoba’s minimum wage is $11 and will rise to $11.15 Oct. 1, after the province said it would tie annual minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation.

“It’s not helpful at all, it certainly doesn’t close the gap and it leaves far too many working poor,” Rebeck said.

No Conservative officials attended the rally, but NDP leader Wab Kinew and Liberal River Heights MLA Jon Gerrard both spoke out in favour of higher wages at the event.

Ontario’s minimum wage is expected to increase to $15 by Jan. 2019, a move that was met with a fresh report from right-wing Canadian think-tank Fraser Institute, which argued that the increase could cause certain workers to be priced out of the market.

However, in response Rebeck said, “when minimum wage goes up, often the economy gets a boost, and the groups that get it are minimum wage paying employers.”

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