Minimum wage increase would reduce need for food banks

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael

While NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) admires and respects the generosity of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who support food banks, she says government could take a solid step towards reducing the increased use of food banks by increasing the province’s minimum wage.

Media interviews with food bank operators report an increasing number of working people and senior citizens who are forced to rely on the agencies to make ends meet. Michael says this is a reflection of the decrease in buying power of a low-wage paycheck.

“Christmas hampers to the poor are a wonderful thing. They give families some relief. But come January, people earning minimum wage continue to face the same problem of not having enough money to feed themselves and their families,” she said in the House of Assembly today.

“I ask the Premier, why won’t this government significantly raise the minimum wage, allowing more working people to buy their own food?”

The 2012 Minimum Wage Review Committee recommended immediate raises to the minimum wage, plus a permanent indexing to the cost of living. Government implemented no increase until Oct. 1 of this year.

“I ask the Premier, will he agree to his own Review Committee’s recommendation for an immediate minimum wage increase and an annual cost of living index?” Michael said.

The NDP Leader questions the logic of both government and opposition MHAs of promoting food drives while voting against and NDP resolution to raise the minimum wage to a decent level.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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