By: Brett McGarry
With the hourly minimum wage in Ontario having gone up $2.60, some of the positivity has been mired in controversy, however some students have seen the increase in a positive light.
Final year paralegal student, and employee at the Aboriginal Resource Centre at Humber College, Lorralene Whiteye is excited about the increase in her wages.
“I was really glad and happy to see that my pay will be going up. Talking with other work-study students at school, everyone seems pleased,” Whiteye said.
“It’ll be nice to have more money for things like food and transportation,” she continued. “I’ve been able to live comfortably as a student, but me and a roommate are looking to move to downtown Toronto this year, so if I can continue to live comfortably, I would be happy.”
For third year Nursing student Tatiana Fritzgerald, “I’ll be doing better than before. With the same hours I’ll be able to save more and live a little better.”
According to Dr. Stephanie Ross, associate professor of labour studies at McMaster University, the wage increase will lead to economic prosperity and dignity for minimum wage workers.
“I think its going to make an incredible improvement to low wage worker’s lives,” Ross said.
“The millions of people working near or at minimum wage were not able to make ends meet. We know that with the previous minimum wage, $11.40 per hour, if you were working full time you were living below the poverty line,” Ross said.
Some Ontario residents may be a little more skeptical, like first year film and television production student at Humber, Christopher Sedlak. He works a part time job already above minimum wage as a student and says he will not likely see a wage increase in the immediate future.
“The wage increase has been a good thing but I am concerned about the reaction from some businesses raising prices and cutting benefits. I’ve already noticed food prices going up here at Humber,” Sedlak said.
“As a student working part time, I do not make much. When I graduate and make a wage far above minimum, I don’t mind paying extra for the cost of living, but for now it can be hard,” Sedlak said.
Experts like Ross say the increases in living costs will be spread out over a very large population, making them hardly noticeable.
“The inflation effects from minimum wage will be worthwhile and not that noticeable to people making more money, compared to the very positive effects it will have on people’s lives and on ability to participate in the economy to a far greater extent,” Ross said.
“It’s a good trade-off.”
With files from Radio Humber News