Posts Tagged ‘ fair wages now ’

Fair Wages Now Takes On Temp Agencies!

Monday April 14, 2014, 11am: As part of the monthly Fair Wages Now province-wide day of action, PMUS and allies toured downtown Kitchener, distributing literature on the streets and making stops at a few of the temp agencies.  

The temp agency industry made $11.5 billion in revenues across Canada in 2012.  The majority of those revenues were made in Ontario (50% of the industry).  Ontario’s temp agency industry had revenues of $5.7 billion in 2012. The Canadian temp industry made just under $1 billion in profits in 2012 by exploiting the precarious income security of workers. 

Temp workers get paid 40% lower than permanent workers doing the same job, often at minimum wage jobs. A recent Labour Ministry labour enforcement blitz showed that 3 out of 4 temp agencies were violating basic employment standards. Ontario workers need decent wages, working conditions and a decent minimum wage!  With this is in mind, we took our demands directly to the offices.


Stops included Express Employment Professionals, Pivotal Action Fare, Adecco and Liberty Staffing. Participants sought to speak with management but were not given that courtesy and instead read a statement denouncing the exploitation of temp workers. Responses varied at the temp agencies from hostility and dismissal through to the disclosure that one employee was involved in campaigning for an increase in the minimum wage. 

Community response, both in the waiting rooms and on the streets, was very positive.


See a full province-wide round-up of events and learn more about the campaign at

In Waterloo Region, join Poverty Makes Us Sick and allies to demand an end to poverty wages!
The KW mobilization of the Fair Wages Now campaign is facilitated by Poverty Makes Us Sick with the support and endorsement of Waterloo Region Labour Council and KOALA, and the coordination of Workers Action Centre (Toronto)
Source: Statistics Canada (2012) Employment Services Service bulletin Catalogue no. 63-252-X online:
Source: Statistics Canada, (2005) Study: Earnings of temporary versus permanent employees, The Daily, Wednesday January 26, 2005. online:



Ontario Liberal Convention, 2014


                                   When Our Pots Are Empty, They Become A Weapon

March 22, 2014:  Raise the Rates organizations from across the province converged on Toronto to march on the Ontario Liberal Convention.  Joined by No One Is Illegal, Fair Wages Now and Labour allies, the messaging of the day emphasized the need for solidarity between poor people, migrants and other working people.  Poverty Makes Us Sick organized free buses from both Kitchener and Ottawa.  PMUS is thrilled to now be operating in both cities. The Ottawa bus also joined our friends and allies in Kingston Coalition Against Poverty for the trip. The march and rally was attended by a few hundred people, who banged their empty pots and pans – and the windows of the convention centre – to the beats of Rhythms of Resistance.

Jointly, we demand an immediate increase in social assistance rate by 55%, the full restoration of the Specials Diet Allowance and CSUMB, no OW/ODSP merger, access to services and access to a living income – beginning with an immediate increase in minimum wage to $14.      In the case of ‘failed’ Refugee Claimants, seeking acceptance on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, we demand access to income itself. 

The Ontario Liberals, under “social justice” Premier Kathleen Wynne, have continued escalating their attack on the poor, overseeing the further degradation of and already inadequate social assistance regime and leaving full time workers below the poverty line.  We resist their assault.  This march and rally, along with OCAPs disruption of the Liberals $1500 a plate gala earlier in the week, serve as but one public front in a daily struggle to end this injustice.  We choose to survive the death sentence of their welfare.  We will endure their indignities and their beatings and we will win our just demands.

In addition to PMUS’s new work in Ottawa, where a re-energized Raise the Rates mobilization is rapidly taking shape, organizers with PMUS Waterloo Region have been bottom-lining work with the Community Coalition On Refugee and Immigrant Concerns, the Sanctuary City Network and members of No One Is Illegal (Toronto), to build a Sanctuary City campaign in Kitchener.  Initiated by PMUS, the work has been ongoing for some time and is about to have a public launch including the formation of a community steering committee.

Poverty Makes Us Sick remains committed to economic justice for all. 

Check out this video of the march and rally, disrupting the Ontario Liberal Convention!
Posted on Toronto Media Co-op by our friends and allies at the Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance:


Raise the Minimum Wage: a look at where our food comes from – October 14


Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage event Launches Raise the Rates Week Of Action in Kitchener!

Hundreds attended a community meal infront of Kitchener City Hall as part of the monthly Province-wide day of action demanding an immediate increase in minimum wage, from $10.25 to $14/hr.

PMUS partnered with Waterloo Region Labour Council (WRLC) and Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance (KOALA) to offer an opportunity to break bread together and reflect on this months theme: A look at who’s putting food on our tables.  Speeches highlighted that the folks bringing us our food are receiving poverty wages.  From Migrant Workers in the agriculture sector through wait staff at restaurants, many are infact earning below minimum wage and are denied pay for over time hours. This injustice was spoken to passionately by Dianne Hartman of KOALA, who’s intersectional analysis calls for total liberation and justice.  Marc Xuereb, President of WRLC brought greetings and the SPOT collective took on a range of tasks to make this event awesome!


Dianne Hartman speaks on behalf of KOALA

Tempeh and hotdogs were enjoyed while children played with $14 Now balloons.  It was a wonderfully uplifitng event with an amazing community response.  100’s of postcards, addressed to Premier Wynne, were signed and media came calling from Stratford and Kitchener. Our message was heard loud and clear:  Fair Wages Now!


Together we can win a victory of an immediate increase in Minimum Wage to $14/hr.  We must continue to fight daily for Migrant Workers and others being exploited by this unjust system.  Who’s putting food on your table?  They deserve a raise!

For more info, to sign a petition and to use social media to win an increase, see:

Check back for more pictures from this and other events from this week of action!

Raise the Minimum Wage Education and Mobilization Event – Report Back

On Tuesday September 24th Sonia Singh of Toronto’s Workers Action Centre facilitated an engaging skill building workshop on the Province-wide Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage.  Sonia is a dynamic presenter and equipped participants with a range of methods and facts to demonstrate the vital need for an increase, as well as the economic sense of an increase.


Held at the Commons Cafe in Kitchener the event was also an opportunity to further solidify relationships and roles within the rapidly growing local coalition of the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage.  The well attended event was a huge boost of energy for all involved.  Thank you to all who attended as individuals, organizational reps, labour reps and political office reps!

Events are held across the Province on the 14th of each month.  We in the Tri-Cities are now more prepared and determined than ever to achieve the objectives of this campaign.  We are so pleased to be part of such an inspiring campaign and always look forward to hearing about the creative and successful actions taken by communities across the Province on the 14th of each month!

Together we can win an increase in the minimum wage in Ontario.

For more information visit:


Minimum Wage Info Night with the Workers Action Centre

Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage:
An Evening of Education and Mobilization
Presented by Workers Action Centre and Poverty Makes Us Sick

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Queen Street Commons, 43 Queen South, Kitchener
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Building a strong $14 Minimum Wage Campaign
Come and Join Us!  Fair Wages Now!

We are inviting all interested community members to join us for an information and mobilization workshop to learn about the need for a livable $14 minimum wage, to dispel myths, and to build support for local contributions to the provincial fight.


The provincial government recently announced the creation of a panel to look at future minimum wage increases and report back within 6 months.  Our communities need an immediate increase. This is a critical moment to ramp up our organizing through creative actions, and make our voices heard!

Join us on Tuesday, September 24th at 7pm for an evening of knowledge-sharing from the Workers Action Centre and strategizing on how to contribute locally to the provincial campaign.

The Campaign celebrated its public launch on March 21st, 2013, with a series of successful Melt the Freeze actions on March 21st and 22nd.  Beginning in August, monthly actions across the province have been launched on the 14th of each month. For a provincial round-up of actions to date, go to:

Learn about local actions here: August 14th and March 22nd


The evening will include light refreshments, and speakers from the Workers Action Centre and Poverty Makes Us Sick.  Come be a part of this important and growing campaign!

Childcare available.  Please let us know ahead of time if you’d like childcare.

The Queen Street Commons is located near the main bus terminal.  It is baby and kid friendly, wheelchair accessible and alcohol-free.  Vegan and gluten-free options are available. There is one, single-occupancy washroom that is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, contact Poverty Makes Us Sick at

The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is coordinated by ACORN, Freedom 90, Mennonite New Life Centre, OCAP, Ontario Campaign 2000, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Put Food in the Budget, Social Planning Toronto, Toronto and York Region Labour Council and Workers’ Action Centre.

Province Wide Day of Action Demanding Fair Wages

August 14th – Eleven communities participated in a province wide day of action calling for an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $14/hr.  Poverty Makes Us Sick hosted the Kitchener event and PMUS members were also present at the Ottawa action.

While the Wynne Liberals threaten yet another consultation and study, communities across Ontario rallied to demand “Fair wages now!” It is an established fact that minimum wage needs to be increased to $14/hr, just to bring people’s income 10% above the poverty line.

There are over 500,000 people in Ontario making the poverty wage of $10.25/hr.  With the skyrocketing costs of food, energy and transportation, workers in Ontario receiving minimum wage have fallen 19% below the poverty line.

There is a growing campaign, facilitated by the Workers Action Centre and a number of other organizations.  There will be events across the province on the 14th of every month, as we demand an increase in the minimum wage to $14/hr.  Our next KW action, on Saturday September 14th, will take place in the afternoon. Each month will be bigger and more exciting than the last!


In Kitchener folks rallied in front of a Tim Horton’s along a busy street. Tim Horton’s pays many of its employees minimum wage and the staff certainly didn’t oppose our presence. Placards were displayed to passing vehicles while campaign leaflets were distributed to a largely receptive public. Interested parties received ‘$14 Now’ buttons and  were offered the opportunity to sign up for email updates.


Prior to the Tim Horton’s rally, Poverty Makes Us Sick was invited by the Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Action (KOALA) and the SPOT Collective to table with them in front of Kitchener City Hall.  In the photo above a passerby stopped to chat while enjoying the free pizza and literature. We engaged many people about the call to raise the minimum wage, while Fair Wages Now leaflets were distributed.

Special thanks to KOALA for supporting this event and taking time from the important work that they do, to join with us at the Tim Horton’s rally.

Poverty Makes Us Sick organizer Shannon Balla joined the good folks at Acorn Ottawa for a pots and pans demo, as part of the province-wide day of action.  She can be seen in this CTV Ottawa coverage:

For more information and to see articles, pictures, and videos from the province-wide day of action visit:

Join the campaign in KW!  Email:                                                                                 

#14now, #fairwagesnow

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