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Meet Senator

Mobina Jaffer

The Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer, Q.C., LL.B. Senator Mobina Jaffer, named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2005, was appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien in 2001. She represents the province of British Columbia.

Statements & Hansard

Senator Grafstein Wants Bar Raised on Minimum Wage

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Statement made on 19 October 2007 by Senator Jerahmiel Grafstein (retired)

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein:

Honourable senators, yesterday I questioned the wisdom of the Government of Ontario, a region I proudly represent, with its refusal apparently to increase the minimum wage to $10. Senator Murray, after my statement, questioned whether the federal government had an existing minimum wage standard. To my surprise, and I think to his as well, we discovered that the federal government some years ago had given up the attempt to establish a minimum guideline for wages across Canada.

I went further into this question. I did not mean to single out my own province, but I think this would be of interest to senators who represent all provinces and all regions. I have a short outline of the minimum wages across Canada for adult workers, as of 2004 — and these are the latest statistics I was able to find; I will try to update them if I can. The list is as follows: Alberta, October 1999 to 2004, $5.90 — again, I repeat, $5.90; British Columbia, as of November 1, 2001, $8; Manitoba, April 2004, $7; New Brunswick, January 2004, $6.20; Newfoundland, November 2, 2002, $6; Northwest Territories, December 2003, $8.25; Nova Scotia, April 2004, $6.50; Prince Edward Island, January 2004, $6.50; Quebec, May 2004 $7.45; Saskatchewan, November 2002, $6.65; and the Yukon, $6.20, as of October 1998. We talked about Ontario earlier.

In looking at this, honourable senators — and the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce has examined the question of productivity — I have been able to discern no satisfactory evidence that raising the minimum wage to $10 across the country would in any way, shape or form impair either our productivity or our competitiveness. I encourage honourable senators to give consideration to this matter and to urge their provincial governments and the regions they represent to change what I consider to be a very unsatisfactory failure to salute the working poor of this country who are seeking to educate their children and to raise them to be contributing members of this country.

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