The past few years have been challenging for Islanders, but especially challenging for lower-income workers. Far too many Islanders are putting in the hours but still earning poverty wages. This is why the Official Opposition has made a submission to the Employment Standards Board’s minimum wage review, outlining a case to immediately increase minimum wage to $15.21 and set a living wage as our minimum wage target.
“Minimum wage earners have little or no bargaining power and are dependent on policies like the minimum wage to improve their well-being,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus. “We must be bold in committing to move our economy toward a more equitable future. It begins with an immediate increase to the minimum wage and a plan to quickly bring it to a liveable wage level.”
The Employment Standards Board’s consideration of measures and poverty and the ability of an employee to maintain a suitable standard of living should holistically consider and be guided by the targets contained in the Poverty Elimination Strategy Act. The Official Opposition’s submission in particular notes the connection between low income and food insecurity and the importance of raising wages to meet our legislated food insecurity elimination targets.
“Though not within the scope of the minimum wage review, we recognize there are additional measures that could and should also be used by government to leave lower-income earners with more money in their pockets,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Green Critic for Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture. “These measures include progressive improvements to PEI tax rates to support lower income workers, amending the Employment Standards Act to guarantee paid sick leave and to reduce the standard number of hours needed for overtime compensation to begin, and implementing a basic income guarantee.”
A copy of the Official Opposition Green caucus submission to the Employment Standards Board can be found here: