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earning this amount or less, so it seems like a particularly important discussion. Using the basic algebraic equation y =


15x, students can create a t-chart of values for total pay (y) versus hours worked (x). They can then plot those points on a graph to see the pattern. With some research, we can explore the difference between a minimum wage and a living wage and plot the new pat- tern on their graph. Spoiler alert: it will have a steeper slope. Students can also discover the difference


between unionized and non-unionized hour- ly wages and plot them. And, as they begin to plan for a place of their own, they can solve for the number of hours of work it will take at the above rates to pay for their monthly rent. Or, thinking long term, how a college or uni- versity education will be financed. Dozens of questions follow. Can employ-


ers be exempted from paying minimum wage? Under which circumstances? Which governments have blocked minimum wage increases and under which pretenses? When the minimum wage is increased, does it have an impact on everyone equally, or do some communities benefit more? What would it mean to index minimum wage to inflation? Are minimum wage earners predominantly young people? How are Ontario’s migrant workers compensated? What about gig workers? What other ways are there to ad- dress systemic poverty beyond adjusting the minimum wage?


F1.5 Explain how interest rates can impact savings, investments and the cost of borrowing to pay for goods and services over time.


Interest rates. They may sound boring but I find them fascinating. Annual percentage rate, or APR, is the cost of taking out a loan. It’s important to know that if you don’t have access to a low interest line of credit from a bank, other service providers will happily step in to fill the need. They are called payday loan centres. While the APR on a bank loan can be as


low as three, a payday loan in Ontario can have an APR of 548, and in Nova Scotia, over 800. Notwithstanding the law, which caps annual interest at 60 percent, added fees can push the effective APR to dizzying heights. There are two million Canadians a year who depend on payday loan centres, feeding a $2 billion a year industry. Students can also explore the concept of


correlation, asking if payday loan centres tend to appear in certain locations and not


28 ETFO VOICE | WINTER 2020


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