NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) says despite the recent increase, full-time minimum wage earners are still coming in below the poverty line. Newfoundland and Labrador’s minimum wage was raised 25 cents to $11 on Oct. 1.
“We still have one of the lowest minimum wages in Canada,” Michael said. “Indexing the minimum wage to inflation will not address poverty if the wage is too low to start with.”
Michael says the previous government’s failure to implement adequate increases after 2010 has left the province’s minimum wage too low and that it’s vital to increase the minimum wage before starting automatic indexing.
“We know that women, youth, and service sector employees are particularly hurt by the low minimum wage. Other Canadian jurisdictions are implementing a $15 minimum wage and we should be working towards that too,” Michael said.
As a platform item since 2011, the NDP has proposed eliminating the small business tax to mitigate the potential impact on small local businesses.
Alberta recently raised its minimum wage to $13.60, with plans to increase to $15 in 2018. Similarly, Ontario’s minimum wage is now $11.60 and the government has introduced legislation to raise it to $15 by 2019.
The NDP launched a petition this summer calling for a $15 minimum wage by 2021.