The announcement today of a minimum wage increase for April 1, 2020 is a step in the right direction. While the increase is clearly not a living wage, any investment that lifts Islanders is good.
This is also the first increase since the passing of Green legislation compelling the Employment Standards Board to consider poverty measurements when setting the minimum wage. As part of its review of the minimum wage, the Board is also required to provide a report explaining how it arrived at its decision. The business community has sought greater transparency in this process and our legislation has delivered on this request.
In its report, the Board identified positive outcomes that come about by raising the minimum wage. Some of these include better health outcomes, lower wage inequality, and increased spending capacity in the local market which in turn leads to economic growth. It also demonstrated how it considered measures of poverty while weighing the needs of both the employer and the employee. I am happy to see this happen.
The report also includes a number of good recommendations. I am pleased to see a recommendation for a comprehensive review of the Employment Standards Act. Doing so will help us ensure we have the best legislation to protect Island workers. It is my hope and expectation that the public will be consulted in this review.
Finally, the report’s recommendation to explore other means of alleviating poverty is also something I fully support. I will continue to hold government to account and help ensure it invests in measures that will bring all Islanders up to a level by which they can sustain themselves and their families. This is my commitment to my constituents and all Islanders as a MLA and Official Opposition Critic for Economic Growth.
Ole Hammarlund, MLA
Charlottetown - Brighton
November 8, 2019