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CBC: Winnipeg worker says no minimum wage hike could mean families like his go hungry

October 7, 2016 — 

As CBC reports:

Minimum wage: a blunt instrument

But Wayne Simpson, a professor of economics at the University of Manitoba, called increasing the minimum wage a “blunt instrument” for dealing with poverty.

“In the context of raising incomes for working people, it helps some people who are working. It doesn’t help those who don’t have a job. It helps less those who have a part-time job,” he said.

It also benefits people who don’t necessarily need the raise, such as those teenagers living at home or second income earners in well-off families, he said.

“The least blunt instrument, the ‘scalpel,’ would probably [be] something that’s really targeted at low income workers along the lines of a refundable tax credit,” Simpson said.

“The new Canada child benefit is that kind of targeted instrument. It’s not very sharp, because it doesn’t really focus on the poor, it goes right into the middle class, but there are other tax credits that could be targeted more directly.”

But Giles said for people like him, “every little bit helps” — he has felt lucky to work in a building with a soup kitchen, because he was guaranteed at least one meal a day.

He hopes the people making decisions that impact families like his are able to see things from his perspective.

“It’s very disheartening for people out there that are trying to make ends meet. You work just to have a place to live.”


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