Extra! Extra! Read All About It…In The Papers We Don’t Pay People Fairly For Delivering

I know times are hard in the newspaper business, but have things really gotten so bad that a company the size of Metroland has to resort to ripping off a couple of 10-year-olds?

Looking to make some money over their summer holiday, the boys took on a paper route with the Beaches Mirror, delivering newspapers to 100 homes for Metroland Media Group. It only paid about $2.50 per hour, or $20 per week, which they’d split between them.

It was straightforward enough. A selection of flyers was delivered to their doorstep, which they would organize. Then the newspapers would arrive. Elias and Ezra put the flyers in the papers, wrapped them in a plastic bag and delivered them. Since the route isn’t in their neighbourhood, Golden would drive them to the area.

Then one Friday morning, after the boys had made their deliveries, the paper unexpectedly dropped off a big stack of flyers. There was a note: these particular flyers hadn’t arrived early enough to make it into the Thursday paper and they needed to go out. 
But there was a hitch. The boys would be paid for their work, but just two cents per flyer — $2 total, one for each of them. To make things worse, Golden said, the paper told them this same scenario would start happening more frequently, since fall is the busy season, so they’d better get used to it.

Since this is obvious bullshit, mom and the boys had a chat and decided that Metroland could take this job and shove it. Metroland, in turn, decided that because they didn’t give the 30 days notice required in their contract, that they wouldn’t be paid for the last three weeks of work they’d done. But since mom happens to be a workplace and human rights investigator by trade, she was not fucking having this and after taking the story to Facebook, Metroland thankfully decided that it might be in their best interests to stop being assholes for a few seconds and pay up.

That’s nice and all, but beyond this one garbage instance we should probably be asking a pretty big question here. Why is it ok that any company, especially one this size, is allowed to pay virtually nothing to the people who are basically the reason that anyone reads their work and sees the ads that tag along with it in the first place? I know when you’re ten it’s often just cool to have a few bucks in your pocket, but that’s not an excuse. We’re not dealing with Mr. Smith down the street getting little Joey to mow his lawn for $5. Hell, we’re not even dealing with a small town, hand to mouth, independent newspaper. Metroland, to hear them tell it, is kind of a big deal. There’s a lot of horn tooting going on here, so we’ll cut it down to the relevant bits about newspapers and flyers.

Metroland Media provides local news and advertising media/information in Canada’s heartland.  More than 100 community newspapers are published that span from London in southwest Ontario to Ottawa in the northeast, with concentration around Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.  The combined distribution of the community newspapers published by Metroland Media is approximately 4 million copies a week.
Metroland Media also publishes two award-winning daily newspapers, The Hamilton Spectator and the Waterloo Region Record. Click here for newspaper publications.

Metroland Media is one the largest distributors of flyers, circulars and product samples in Canada.  With almost total coverage of households throughout central and eastern Ontario, combined with delivery verification systems, Metroland Media excels at delivering advertisers’ flyers to their customers.

And Metroland is itself owned by Torstar, which seems like it should have a few bucks on hand to pay some kids and down on their luck adults a fair wage.

I wish I could say I was going to boycott them, but when they own a not insignificant slice of the news coverage in your area (the Record, the Post, the Chronicle, the Cambridge Times and the digital husk of the Guelph Mercury/Tribune), that’s not a thing that’s realistically going to happen. But in my way I can call them out for their uncaring and terrible treatment of important workers, so consider that done.

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