Minimum wage increase plan a step in the right direction, doesn’t go far enough: NDP


For immediate release

Feb. 21, 2020


Minimum wage increase plan a step in the right direction, doesn’t go far enough: NDP


NDP Leader Alison Coffin says the government’s announcement of four increases to minimum wage is a step in the right direction, but falls woefully short of where it needs to be for people to be able to afford to live and prosper in this province.


Coffin is reacting to news that government will raise the minimum wage 25 cents to $11.65 on April 1, 2020, with further increases of 50 cents on Oct. 1, 2020, 25 cents on April 1, 2021, and 25 cents on Oct. 1, 2021.


“By the end of 2021 our minimum wage will be just $12.65 an hour – that’s not enough today, and it certainly won’t be enough 18 months from now,” said Coffin.


“Even with these scheduled increases, NL will still have one of the lowest minimum wages among the 13 provinces and territories.”


Jordan Brown, MHA for Labrador West, says the report on the NDP Caucus Questionnaire for Minimum Wage and Low Wage Earners, released to the public this week, shows the desperate situation that many minimum and low wage earners are experiencing.


“In our questionnaire, we heard directly from 426 minimum and low wage earners – that’s people making the minimum wage or a wage under $15 an hour – and they are saying loud and clear that $15 is where we need to be, sooner rather than later,” said Brown.


Brown notes one alarming takeaway from the report includes most respondents either considering, or in the process of, moving out of Newfoundland and Labrador in order to seek higher wages and a more affordable life in another province. Respondents also reported high levels of stress related to covering the basic costs of living, and that they did not have money left over for other activities that affect quality of life.


“Considering our province’s urgent challenges with population decline and outmigration, we need to give people a reason to stay and build their lives and raise their families in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Brown.


The report, “Questionnaire for Minimum Wage and Low Wage Earners: What the NL NDP Caucus Heard” is available at www.nl.ndp.ca/minimumwage.


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For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or zarenhealeywhite@gov.nl.ca.

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