The Individual and the Economy
Level: Grade 11 Open
This lesson’s purpose is to understand how wages have changed over time and to understand the concepts of minimum wage, living wage and fair wage.
Spreadsheet for Consumer Price Index
My Name’s Not George: The Story of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in Canada. Toronto: Umbrella Press, 1997.
Money Converter CPI year by year 1774-2017
As suitable: Canada Labour Code, Employment Standards Act, Ontario Human Rights Act, Employment Equity legislation, City of Toronto Fair Wage Policy
Fair wage/living wage:
- How much did sleeping car porters earn when they started to unionize (e.g., Grizzle, 20, 23); what was the purchasing power of that income? What is the equivalent today? What are the actual wages of sleeping car porters today?
- What is a minimum wage? What is ‘living wage’? what is the difference?
- Was the wage paid to sleeping car porters in 1933 a “living wage”?
- What do you need to know to decide?
- Is their current wage a “living wage”?
- What are the debates for and against the idea of increasing minimum wage to “living wage”?
Divide the class into three groups:
- One group to research what is considered a “living wage” for the area in which you live;
- One group to research the arguments for requiring the payment of a “living wage”
- One group to research the arguments against the payment of a “living wage”
Hold the debate.
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