Bob Cratchit in Ontario

An intriguing tweet came across my feed this morning, comparing the salary Scrooge paid Bob Cratchit to a US minimum wage (possibly federal, possibly the poster’s home state). This inspired me to do the calculations for Ontario.

According to the tweet, Scrooge paid Cratchit 15 shillings a week in 1843; at 20 shillings to the pound this was 0.75 pounds, which according to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator, was 97.45 pounds in 2020. According to one currency calculator, this amounts to $166.94 Canadian dollars. I didn’t reread A Christmas Carol to find out if it told us how many hours per week Cratchit worked, but apparently industrial workers faced 6 days per week, 12 hours per day. Supposing Scrooge was equally stingy, that would be $2.31 per hour. So the Ontario wage of $15 as of this coming January 1 is about six and a half times that, significantly better than what the tweet was claiming.

BTW: at the current exchange rate that $15 is US$11.57, which is significantly better than the current US federal minimum wage of $7.50. Yay Ontario (even under Ford)?

Given my current state of burnout, I may have goofed somewhere in these calculations, but this is why I’ve shown my work.

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