For Immediate Release
26 May, 2022
The NL NDP is disappointed government is leaving low wage earners to struggle for 16 months while projected inflation increases will keep those struggling to make ends meet. The gap between legislated poverty wage and livable wage in Newfoundland and Labrador continues to widen. The party also notes that the province has cherry picked which recommendations to announce from the Minimum Wage Review Committee Report.
“It’s a relief to see that government heard us and realized that wages needed to increase, and we commend the advocates at $15 and Fairness for the dedicated work they did to bring this to the forefront,” said Dinn. “But today’s announcement doesn’t move quickly enough and leaves low wage earners to struggle for 16 months with record inflation. This government just doesn’t get it.”
In 2019 the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculated a living wage in St. John’s to be $18.85. Accounting for inflation a livable wage becomes $19.48 in 2021. With inflation to be 5.3% in 2022, a livable wage will be $20.48. With Bank of Canada inflation projections expected be 2.2% in 2023, the livable wage becomes $20.93. When these minimum wage increases are complete, the shortfall between legislated minimum wage and livable income can be estimated to be $12,334.40 per year at full time hours, full year employment.
“The formula is simple, the minimum wage in this province must reflect the cost of living for an individual. We need a plan to move the minimum wage away from a legislated poverty wage to a livable wage that’s tied to the province’s inflation rates,” said Dinn. “The pattern that we have seen in this province is to slowly move the marker but never crossing the finish line leaving people in poverty struggling to make ends meet. It’s not enough to compare us to other jurisdictions, the cost to live in this province is just that - the cost to live in this province - and the minimum wage must reflect that.”
NL NDP Submission to the Minister of Finance is included below.
The Minimum Wage Review Committee Report can be found at the following link:
May 17, 2022
Minister of Finance
Main Floor, East Block Confederation Building
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's, NL AlB 4J6
Dear Minister Coady,
Thank you for consulting with me on possible strategies to address the current cost of living crisis that all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are currently facing. Our caucus appreciates the opportunity to provide feedback on the best way to help as many people as possible in the immediate term.
Any one single measure will leave gaps, and exclude some of the most vulnerable groups of our population. For this reason, we propose a suite of four actions government can take right now to counter the pinch of inflation and trickle-down effects of rising fuel costs.
1. Increase minimum wage from $13.20/hour to $15/hour; eliminate the 3% corporate tax on businesses that both (a) earn less than $500,000 in annual profit, and (b) have employees. This action will assist with wealth redistribution, while protecting the small local businesses that our local economy depends on, and encourage them to hire. It will cost government ~$17.8 million, and put an additional $3,744 per year (based on a 40 hour week) in the pockets of minimum wage earners.
2. Provide a monthly rebate for the next three months on electricity bills for households with an annual income of $100,000 or less.
3. Increase the qualification threshold for income support for individuals and families to an annual income of $25,000.
4. Restore drug card coverage for income support recipients enrolled in post-secondary education programs.
Please reach out if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the details of these suggestions. Once immediate actions have taken place to address the cost of living crisis, I look forward to having further discussions with you about longer-term solutions to eliminate poverty in our province.
Interim Leader, Third Party Caucus
M.H.A., St. John's Centre
· Study citing cost of living in St. John’s in 2019: https://policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/living-wage-st-johns-newfoundland-and-labrador
· Forecast of inflation by Bank of Canada for 2022:
· Inflation calculator from the Bank of Canada: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/related/inflation-calculator/