Earlier today, the Employment Standards Board issued its minimum wage order with the Cabinet's approval. This minimum wage order includes an increase to $14.50 effective January 1, 2023, and an increase to $15 effective October 1, 2023.
While I’m happy to see the minimum wage increase and that the Board took into account the submission from the Official Opposition on the minimum wage order, I am concerned that these increases are simply not enough to help Island workers keep pace with inflation that continues to lead the country.
A $15 minimum wage is a milestone that workers, experts, and advocates have been calling for, for years. As we pointed out in our submission, it should be a step toward a living wage.
Our caucus had called for an increase to $15.21 by April 1, 2023, which would help the wages of low-income workers keep pace with rising inflation. The decision to delay a further $0.50 increase until October 1, 2023, hurts workers in seasonal industries that disproportionately rely on low-wage labor.
In the absence of an adequate increase to the minimum wage, and as suggested in the numerous submissions to the Employment Standards Board regarding their minimum wage review, there are still tools available to the government to support low-income workers, including:
- Providing relief through tax policy, including targeted tax decreases for low-income Islanders and a review of PEI tax brackets to ensure tax fairness
Providing relief through program spending, including increased spending to support low-income with Islanders with food, housing, heating, transportation and other costs
All workers deserve to be respected, valued, and paid a living wage.
Trish Altass, MLA Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke
Official Opposition Green Critic for Economic Growth, Tourism, and Culture
DID YOU KNOW?
- The Green caucus was the only caucus to make a submission to the Employment Standards Board.
- A private member's bill from the Green caucus amended the Employment Standards Act in 2019 to require the Employment Standards Board to consider measures of poverty when making its order on minimum wage and to make public the report of the Employment Standards Board.