“As of Oct. 1, low-income earners in our province have the dubious distinction of having the lowest minimum wage in Canada,” says NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael. “Meanwhile, a minimum wage review as required by the Labour Standards Act is overdue.”
From 2010 to 2015, minimum wage rose by five percent, while the cost of basic foods like meat rose 29.3% or bread 23.2%. “Our minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living,” Michael said this week, upon asking the premier if he’d commit to making “the minimum wage a living wage.”
MHA Gerry Rogers says keeping the minimum wage low means that, in effect, government tax dollars are subsidizing multi-national corporations.
“Thousands of provincial minimum wage earners work for mostly large chains that each employ more than 500 people,” said Rogers. “Many of these workers need government help through social programs because their employers don’t pay them enough money to live on. This in fact becomes a corporate subsidy.”
Rogers has asked the premier if he’s “done an analysis of how much government is spending to subsidize corporations’ low wage practices?”
Rogers has also pointed out that 66% of minimum wage workers in the province are women, and even a full-time year-round job leaves them around the poverty line. She has inquired as to whether Finance Minister and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Cathy Bennett has conducted a gender analysis on the impact of a low minimum wage on women.