News & Events
Gap between minimum wage and social assistance rate same as in Depression era
From a The Mark article:
It may have been a Depression era coincidence, but broad based minimum wage laws brought in by the Ontario government in 1937 closely followed the first issuances of cash welfare in 1935.
Back then, the minimum wage (which applied mainly to working women in Toronto) was $12.50 a week, or about $54 a month. The going relief rate at that time for a single person in many parts of Toronto was about $ $19.50 a month. So a single relief packet amounted to 36 per cent of what someone could make working for minimum wage.
Flash forward to today, the minimum wage in Ontario just rose to $10.25 an hour, which works out to $1,625 a month based on a standard 36-and-a-half-hour work week. Meanwhile, the single maximum welfare rate is $585 a month. That means that, for the first time in 73 years, the welfare rate will again equal 36 per cent of the Ontario minimum wage.
What happened in between?