Hard to live on $18 an hour, admits Legault
Quebec Premier François Legault
Premier Legault admits it's hard for a worker earning $18 an hour hour, to live with dignity in Quebec. However, he refuses to raise the minimum wage, as requested by Québec solidaire.
800,000 people in Quebec make less than $18 an hour, while the minimum hourly wage is $14.25. According to a report by the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS) published in 2021, “the income of a single person earning $18 an hour and working 35 hours a week corresponds to 95% of viable income”.
However, the average purchasing power of Canadians has suffered since the publication of this report, with the sharp increase in the prices of consumer goods in 2022. For example, gasoline was selling for 17.8% more in October 2022 compared to to October 2021.
In the Quebec economic update published Thursday, no aid measures were proposed to specifically support these people living on low wages. According to the update, only people aged 70 and over with incomes of less than $25,000 per year will benefit from additional assistance in the form of a taxable check for $2,000.
< h3 id="h-a-different-objective">A different objective
The Legault government claims to have different objectives in terms of increasing the quality of life of Quebecers. Rather than aiming to eliminate poverty in Quebec, the Prime Minister is targeting an improvement in the average salary. “We want people who earn $25 an hour – roughly the average in Quebec – to increase to $26, $27, $28. That’s our goal. We have much more ambition than QS,” he told the National Assembly.