Government ignoring its own minimum wage review regulations
The provincial government has not yet held the minimum wage review required by law, say the members of the NDP caucus, and the lowest-waged working people in the country are paying the price.
“As of Oct. 1, low-income earners in our province have the dubious distinction of having the lowest minimum wage in Canada,” said NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael today during Question Period. “Meanwhile, a minimum wage review as required by the Labour Standards Act is overdue.
“When will this government live up to its statutory obligations and conduct a review of our minimum wage, including public hearings?”
From 2010 to 2015, minimum wage rose by five percent, while prices of bakery products like bread increased by 23.2% and meat by 29.3%.
“Minimum wage workers’ real income has declined because our minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living,” she said. “I ask the Premier, will he commit to low-income earners in this province that his government will take steps to make the minimum wage a living wage?”
St. John’s Centre 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.
“I ask the Premier, has he done an analysis of how much government is spending to subsidize corporations’ low wage practices?”
Rogers says 66 per cent of minimum wage workers in the province are women; even a full-time year-round job leaves them around the poverty line. She wants to know if 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.