A re-elected Liberal Government will increase the minimum wage to $14 per hour over the course of its next mandate.
Gallant specified that a re-elected Liberal Government will increase the minimum wage to $14 per hour by 2022 according to the following schedule:
- April 1, 2019: increase of $0.75 to $12.00
- April 1, 2020: increase of $0.50 to $12.50
- April 1, 2021: increase of $0.75 to $13.25
- April 1, 2022: increase of $0.75 to $14.00
The Gallant Government has already raised the minimum wage four times since 2014, representing a 12.5% bump and increasing the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage earner by over $2,500 more per worker.
In 2009, a bi-partisan agreement resulted in the development of a poverty reduction strategy for New Brunswick that promised to raise the minimum wage to the Atlantic average by September 2011 and adjust it by inflation thereafter. When Blaine Higgs’ Conservative Party formed the government in 2010, however, they delayed the minimum wage increase to April 2012 while they considered a two-tiered minimum wage. Blaine Higgs and the Conservatives then failed to index the minimum wage to inflation resulting in a minimum wage freeze for two-and-a-half years until the Gallant Government took office in 2014.
“Blaine Higgs and the Conservatives left minimum wage earners hanging when they reneged on their promise to raise the minimum wage and criticized our Liberal Government when we raised the minimum wage and created Family Day for workers to take a break with their families,” said Gerry Lowe, Liberal candidate in the riding of Saint John Harbour.
Government has a moral responsibility to help those living at or near poverty levels. Experts say that raising the minimum wage is one of the best ways of providing this help. Moreover, increasing the minimum wage is just the first step in a chain reaction which benefits our whole economy. When the minimum wage increases, consumers spend more, workplaces become more productive, and household incomes increase. These ripple effects benefit our entire economy.
Under this Liberal Government, wages have grown every year, and in 2016, average hourly earnings in New Brunswick grew by 3.2%, which was the largest increase among Canadian provinces, and in 2018 the average hourly earnings in New Brunswick are on track to grow by more than 3% yet again.
Over the course of its previous mandate, the Gallant Government has implemented a number of measures to make life more affordable for New Brunswickers. These include:
- Creating the Free Tuition and Tuition Relief for the Middle-Class programs, which have given thousands of students the opportunity to pursue their dreams at our public community colleges and universities.
- Beginning the rollout of programs that provide free childcare for those who need it most and increased financial support for the middle class.
- Extending pay equity throughout the provincial government, including all Crown Corporations by the end of 2018.
- Creating a historic partnership to provide high-speed Internet to the vast majority of households in rural New Brunswick.
- Partnering with the Connected for Success Program to offer low-cost internet to 19,000 New Brunswick families living in public housing.
- Supported the enhancements to the CPP to ensure workers can retire with dignity and income security.
- Actively participating in the development of a new National Housing Strategy which, under a 2016-2018 agreement, has given us the opportunity to invest an additional $56 million in affordable housing in New Brunswick.
- Renewing the Home Energy Assistance Program and increasing the number of eligible families.