Changes to Minimum Wage are First Step Towards Affordability for All Ontarians

In response to the Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review Feed Ontario urges the provincial government to invest in increasing income security for the province’s most vulnerable

TORONTO, Nov. 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Feed Ontario welcomes the Government of Ontario’s announcement of a planned increase to the provincial minimum wage in January 2021, bringing it to $15 per hour and the elimination of a separate minimum wage for liquor servers. However, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure all Ontarians can recover from the financial impact of the pandemic and afford today’s cost of living.

“Hunger is a symptom of poverty which makes income security essential to reducing the need for food banks in Ontario,” says Siu Mee Cheng, Interim Executive Director of Feed Ontario. “Increasing the minimum wage is the first of many steps needed to end hunger and poverty in our province.”

While appreciative of these initial changes, Feed Ontario acknowledges that a $15 minimum wage still does not provide full-time Ontario workers with sufficient income to afford today’s cost of living. This is particularly worrying as Ontario has the highest rate of minimum wage workers of any province in Canada at 15 percent. Further, the rise in precarious work has driven more workers to food banks with the proportion of food bank visitors with employment income rising by 44 percent in the four years leading up to the pandemic.

Feed Ontario is also disappointed to see other key areas of affordability not addressed in the Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review and the Working for Workers Act announced today, including no additional investments in social assistance or new investments in social housing and childcare.

Rates for Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) have both remained frozen (at $733 and $1,169 respectively) since 2018. With the cost of living increasing annually and more significantly throughout this pandemic, this makes it even more difficult for program recipients to afford daily necessities each month. This is reflected in Ontario’s food bank use data, with two thirds of food bank users citing social assistance as their primary source of income.

Feed Ontario urges the Government of Ontario to make a strong and explicit commitment to reduce poverty and food insecurity in the province by:

  • Investing in Ontario’s Workforce by improving and protecting labour laws and developing quality employment opportunities that provide sufficient income for today’s cost of living.
  • Investing in Affordable Housing through the construction and repair of social and supportive housing and providing rent relief to low-income tenants facing eviction due to COVID-19.
  • Strengthening Ontario’s Social Safety Net by aligning social assistance rates and benefits with the cost of living and eliminating financial penalties on earned income.

Feed Ontario will release its annual Hunger Report with the latest details on the provincial food bank usage trends on November 30th.

To learn more about hunger in Ontario and Feed Ontario’s recommendations for change please visit:

About Feed Ontario:

From securing fresh and healthy food sources to driving change through policy research and innovative programming, Feed Ontario unites food banks, industry partners, and local communities in its work to end poverty and hunger. Join Feed Ontario and help build a healthier province. Every $1 raised provides the equivalent of 3 meals to an Ontarian in need. Learn more at:

For more information, please contact:

Teju Oladoyin | Feed Ontario || 416-656-4100 x2941