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Ottawa: Poverty Group Urges Action on ‘Living Wage’
Metro Ottawa
Sean McKibbon

April 12, 2011
View the Original Article

City council is dragging its feet on implementing a proposal to restrict municipal contracts only to those employers who agree to pay their workers a “living wage,” say members of an anti-poverty lobby group.

Ottawa members of ACORN met at city hall yesterday to continue to pressure councillors to support the proposal that would set a minimum “living wage” of $13.50 an hour.

“The city has some contractors who pay minimum wage or less than the low-income cutoff,” said ACORN member Michelle Walrond, comparing the practice to child labour or sweatshops.

Walrond said the $13.50 figure is based on cost of living statistics from Statistics Canada and reflects the amount a person needs to make ends meet in Ottawa. She said people who work for less often have to supplement their incomes by relying on food banks and other social services.

Walrond said about 14 councillors have voiced their support for the idea, but added the group had a setback with the proposal during the last municipal election, when some supportive councillors failed in their re-election bids.