New year, same result. That, in a nutshell, describes the ongoing challenges many families in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County, and Northumberland County face to pay for healthy food.
“Apartment for rent $1,600.00 per month, no kids, no pets, no smokers.”
This ad sums up the difficulty facing many renters in Haliburton County. Working full-time at minimum wage, one would have approximately $500 for all other expenses after paying rent.
When Ontarians from all walks of life took part in a ‘general strike’ to oppose cuts made by the PC government under Premier Doug Ford recently, Dr. Steve Oldridge of the Bobcaygeon Medical Centre was among them.
The physician is a champion for rural health care and the Ontario Basic Income Pilot program quashed by Ford’s government.
“With the rising gap between minimum wage and the living wage, you have a situation where people can’t afford to eat,” Oldridge says. “Poverty is the greatest determinant of health.”
In the spirit of the season, local residents are being asked to buy into something that isn’t available at any store or online retailer — support a living wage and other income-based solutions to keep people out of poverty. The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit wants people to take a stand against poverty in the City of Kawartha Lakes. Locally, 16.5 per cent of local children and youth live in poverty.
A recent study also found the ‘living wage’ in Kawartha Lakes is $18.42 per hour – what a family of four with both parents working full-time would need to earn to cover basic expenses in 2018. This amount is more than $4 higher than Ontario’s current minimum wage.
As the PC government puts the brakes on the minimum wage, new figures just released show that a living wage in Kawartha Lakes for a family of four is more than $4 higher than Ontario’s current minimum wage.
Local health officials say the gap is “worrisome” at a time when well-paying, full-time jobs continue to decline, and part-time employment can be unstable and unpredictable.
New calculations from the Ontario Living Wage Network (Keep Reading) show a family of four in Kawartha Lakes – with both parents working full-time – would each have to earn a living wage of $18.42 per hour in order to cover basic expenses in 2018. It is the highest in Ontario after Toronto and Haliburton.
This is Living Wage Week, part of a campaign to encourage employers to pay a wage that is significantly higher than the legal minimum. Recently I highlighted the negative impact of inequality. One of the ways to increase equality is through reducing income difference before tax by increasing minimum wages or through a ‘living wage.’
Recently, the provincial government announced that the minimum wage would remain at $14 for the next two years. While expected, this announcement is not good news for the people working at jobs that typically pay a minimum wage; jobs in the retail, food services, and hospitality sectors.
There is a prescription to improve public health, but to fill it, local voters are being urged to have all the facts before casting a ballot in the upcoming Ontario election.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit wants people to ask their provincial election candidates where they and their political parties stand on key issues affecting health.
Last week’s national headlines were dominated by the Tim Hortons brand. Not surprising.
In nearby Cobourg, the owners of the local Tim Hortons there (who just happen to be Ron Joyce Jr., son of Tim Hortons co-founder Ron Joyce, and Jeri-Lynn Horton-Joyce, daughter of Tim Horton) decided they could no longer afford to pay staff for workday breaks.