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Letter: Higher minimum wage is a sound economic move

In conjunction with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour’s convention taking place this week at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland, delegates marched up Military Road to the steps of the Colonial Building over the lunch hour on Tuesday to rally in support of a $15-per-hour minimum wage.
In conjunction with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour’s convention at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland, delegates marched up Military Road to the steps of the Colonial Building over the lunch hour on last week to rally in support of a $15-per-hour minimum wage. - Joe Gibbons

The St. John’s Board of Trade claims that Ontario’s Jan. 1 minimum wage increase reduced employment in that province, particularly full time.

That is not accurate.

As the Board of Trade knows, employment tends to fall after the holidays, and did so in most provinces, including provinces where the minimum wage did not increase on Jan. 1: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

That post-holiday lull is generally temporary. Statistics Canada data confirms that it was temporary in Ontario, where employment has increased every month since then.

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Also, Ontario’s post-holiday lull was all part time. Full-time work actually rose in January, and there are now over 40,000 more full-time jobs than before the minimum wage increase.

Ontario made a smart decision to increase its minimum wage substantially, and it remains one of the hottest job-creation engines in the country.

That makes an increase to the minimum wage a sound economic option that we have proposed among many sound options, which can work for workers and businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador not a political one as the Board of Trade contends, but one that will benefit thousands of workers, those businesses where they spend this money, and government who will tax it.

Mary Shortall

President, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour

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