|Facts about the Working Poor in Canada|
|David Langille is the executive producer for Poor No More and also a York University professor on social justice and labour issues. He compiled a fact sheet on Canada's working poor, available on the Poor No More blog.|
|Mon. Jan. 11, 2010|
|Where is the media?|
|Poor No More director Bert Deveaux discusses cuts and reduced benefits faced by auto workers as Ford announces a 3rd quarter profit of $1 billion. How does the media stand for this?|
|Fri. Nov. 27, 2009|
|Director Bert Deveaux discusses solutions for the Canadian working poor|
|Director of Poor No More, Bert Deveaux, compares solutions for the working poor to cancer and Canada's role in distributing asbestos. He shows readers how there are abusive powers holding back working people and their families.|
|Tue. Nov. 03, 2009|
|Update: Final Stage of Production|
|Poor No More, the feature documentary about Canada's working poor, is in its final stages of production|
|Tue. Oct. 13, 2009|
|Budget fails to address poverty - literally|
|Much has already been written about the federal budget. My own opinion is that while I am happy to see a small breakthrough – finally – in money earmarked for Canada’s crumbling social housing stock, much in the budget leaves me scratching my head...|
|Mon. Feb. 09, 2009|
|Can't afford to be sick|
|I was in a grocery store in December, at the express checkout, and the cashier was a woman who appeared to be in her mid or late 40s. She was someone with a friendly smile, the kind of person you ...|
|Thu. Jan. 01, 2009|
|Merry Christmas, retail workers!|
|I was in the liquor store a few nights ago, where a friend of mine was toiling at a cash register.|
|Tue. Dec. 09, 2008|
|What we measure, we treasure|
|Someone I know, who founded a successful non-profit agency, once shared the saying with me that "what we measure, we treasure." In other words, the things we value in our society are often things we track and evaluate.
|Sat. Dec. 06, 2008|
|Poverty... a real scene-stealer|
|You know poverty - via an economic crisis - has made it big when it's made it to Hollywood.
|Fri. Nov. 28, 2008|
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Merry Christmas, retail workers!
|Tue. Dec. 09, 2008|
I was in the liquor store a few nights ago, where a friend of mine was toiling at a cash register. She is part of a group of 3,000 short-term contract employees who started work at LCBO stores across Ontario recently to help out with the busy holiday season. While most people assume that this job might pay a good wage, the truth is the LCBO has a very hierarchical system, with wages and benefits at many different levels for different employment categories. Seasonal workers are at the bottom of the food chain, earning $10 an hour, with no benefits, stat holiday pay, or overtime. It seems a bit odd, considering they are doing exactly the same work as permanent staff who make a whole lot more.
Actually, it is not the same work. It is harder. As anyone who has worked "Christmas retail" will know, it is one of the most stressful things you can do. I've had a few retail and food service jobs in my life, and one of the hardest was the Christmas I worked as a salesclerk in a high-end bookstore. The lineups were relentless, even with extra staff on hand. The customers were frequently stressed, demanding, or irrationally angry. Trying to work the cash register as fast as it could go, smiling through every bit of verbal abuse, and being on my feet for eight hours each day left me drained. At the end of every shift, I just wanted to go home, put my feet up, and never hear another Christmas carol for as long as I lived.
Every year, thousands of people are hired for the holidays to do this kind of low-wage but skilled work (requiring great stamina, determination, efficiency, and diplomacy). Many of them, like my friend, are adults who just need any job to make ends meet. As I watched her yesterday, in front of a long lineup snaking to the back of the store, she helped each customer quickly and pleasantly, one at a time, but never looking up at who was coming next. It must have been the best way to survive.
So hats off to you, seasonal workers. And let's all make sure that this year, the spirit of the season doesn't escape you.
- Julia Morgan
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