Photo cred - Ant0rm
As it is, this is just not a sustainable way to live. The struggle I went through is like so many others, and I am fortunate enough to have come out with a positive result, which is not the case for so many of my peers. I fervently looked for a job for a year and half. I’d pound the pavement, I’d search through Craigslist, Kijji and Indeed for hours after my classes, trying to find somewhere that would take an Anglophone. But every interview was cut short once they found I couldn’t speak French. Or at least that's the way it can seem for a lot of us.
If I didn’t love Montreal so much, I probably would’ve given up and gone to school somewhere else. But I didn’t and eventually I found something. After all this rambling, you’re probably wondering what the hell this has to do with minimum wage.
Well I’m getting there. Hold your horses. Let’s look at some stats first.
Photo cred - Phox CVX
As of right now there is about 8.2 million people who live in Quebec. 270, 000 of those people earn minimum wage. Another 7.7% of the population of Quebec is unemployed. That comes to about 10% of people living on little to no money at all.
We all know that there is a difference between a living wage and minimum wage, which is what a lot of people are experiencing in Quebec. Even though there are relatively cheap living and education rates, the money people make on minimum wage is not even close to what it costs to live here. It’s almost impossible now a days for students to support themselves through school without being subsidized.
Higher wages, mean happier workers who do their job more passionately and efficiently. Bitter people are not gonna make a good cup of coffee. Speaking as an anglo, I want to live here because I LOVE the culture of this city, I don’t want to ruin it, which is what so many people seem to be worried about. But it’s hard to make a life for yourself when you feel discriminated against when entering the workforce. And even when you get a foot in, you’re essentially living off nothing. I mean, I’m far from being an economist, but that just seems like bad business.
As of right now, Quebec falls about mid range for minimum wage/unemployment rates next to the rest of Canada. But what I’ve illustrated so far should at least give you an idea that it isn’t going in a positive direction. I’m not saying raising the minimum wage is going to necessarily make it easier for anglos to find jobs or decrease the homelessness issue in Montreal, but it’s a start. With higher wages Quebecers can spend more (which also helps the economy) and gain independence by paying for their own schooling and living expenses. You’re encouraging people to actually settle down. And isn’t that kind of the goal? A bigger, more diverse province, with a unique and historic culture. Think about it.