By Kayla Perry
On Nov. 14, students and Sudburians alike gathered in an attempt to raise the minimum wage.
More than 30 protesters attended the rally, which headed to MPP Rick Bartolucci’s office upon arriving downtown.
The rally, which was lead by LU’s Graduate Students’ Association, began in the student lounge, and continued to downtown Sudbury. From there, the protesters rode a bus back to the lounge, where the GSA offered a free lunch to all those who attended.
The protesters asked that the minimum wage in Ontario be raised to $14 an hour, as opposed to the current general minimum wage of $10.25. The last time minimum wage was raised was in 2010, up from $9.50 in 2009.
The group argued that since tuition rates are steadily increasing year-to-year, the minimum wage needs to be raised as well, so students that are forced to take part-time jobs can continue to afford the cost of living.
Laurel Roberts, a first-year LU student in Indigenous Studies, was among those who attended the rally.
Roberts said she believes minimum wage needs to be raised “because the price of living and the economy have both increased. People need the money to get over the hurdle of poverty.”
However, although Roberts said she thinks minimum wage should be raised, she does not believe this rally will result in any changes by itself.
“I don’t think one protest will result in the change of minimum wage but it’s our voice that counts and getting our opinions into the public eye,” said Roberts. “The more rallies and protests we have make it so we can reach a wider span of people… I think with the spread of information we can get more people to say they want this change and that they want to raise minimum wage.”
Roberts said she is currently in- between jobs, but when she was working she felt the “stress and frustration” of trying to pay her bills and expenses on the minimum wage she was earning.
The protest was one of many that took place across the province – the fourteenth of each month has been declared the Raise the Rates campaign’s action day.
The rally was mostly attended by Laurentian students, as well as local protesters and members of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty.
“It’s important for more people to get involved with these rallies, protests and initiatives because it affects their city and their way of living,” said Roberts. “It can improve the overall lifestyle and get more people out of poverty, so it is important for people to get involved.”