Minimum wage under review in Newfoundland and Labrador

Province holding public consultations throughout January as it eyes hike to $10 an hour

Newfoundland and Labrador is reviewing its minimum wage, and is holding public consultations across the province to gather feedback from various stakeholders. The province has said it plans to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2010. The province’s current minimum wage is $7.50, and it is set to rise to $8 on April 1, 2008.

“Public consultations are an important part of the decision-making process and our government has firmly committed to consulting as widely as possible regarding future increases to the minimum wage,” said Shawn Skinner, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. “I encourage the people of the province to participate in the process to ensure that their views are heard by government.”

The province said the minimum wage review supports the its “blueprint commitment” to consult and plan for future increases in the minimum wage in a predictable and incremental manner, and to provide stakeholders with the opportunity for meaningful input with a view to achieving a minimum hourly wage of $10 per hour by 2010. Since 2005, the provincial government has increased the minimum wage by 33 per cent. (This includes the Budget 2007 commitment that raised it to $7.50 on Oct. 1, 2007, and to $8 per hour on April 1, 2008.)

“The objective of the minimum wage review is to ensure that government fully appreciates the impacts of the minimum wage rate in the context of the province’s overall social and economic outlook,” said Skinner. “I look forward to hearing the views of citizens and stakeholder groups during the consultation process to better inform our deliberations regarding the minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Providing feedback

There are several ways for individuals to provide feedback. Submissions can be completed at or by calling (877) 563-1063. Written submissions can also be handed in at either the St. John’s or Corner Brook Labour Relations Agency office.

Beginning Jan. 14, MHA Keith Hutchings, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, will host a series of regional public consultation sessions around the province.

Individuals or groups who wish to make a presentation at a regional session are asked to pre-register by contacting the LRA either through the toll-free number or by e-mail at [email protected] Written submissions can also be provided to officials at these sessions. As well, representatives from business and labour, the community-based sector, women, youth and the academic community will be invited to bring their views forward through several roundtable discussions, the province said.

“The minimum wage rate is also an important consideration for the provincial poverty reduction strategy,” said Skinner. “The review of the minimum wage and the broad-based approach to these consultations serves to inform the strategy’s long-term goals of improved earned incomes and a stronger social safety net in the province.”

Background on the minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador

The minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage rate that can be paid to workers in Newfoundland and Labrador. Under labour standards legislation, the province has authority to establish the minimum hourly wage rate.

In 2006, 14,200 Newfoundland and Labrador workers earned the minimum wage.

The province said it is committed to providing individuals and stakeholders with a meaningful opportunity for input into the 2008 minimum wage review and will consider the results of these consultations in regard to future increases to the minimum wage rate.

Key questions for consideration

The province offers the following three questions to consider regarding the proposed minimum wage increase to $10 by 2010:

•What are your views regarding the impact of achieving a minimum wage of $10 per hour by 2010?

•With a view to achieving a minimum wage of $10 per hour by 2010, what is an appropriate schedule of increases to the minimum wage over this time period?

•If you see challenges associated with increasing the minimum wage, how could these be addressed?

Schedule of public consultations

The Labour Relations Agency will be accepting public submissions with respect to the 2008 minimum wage review until Feb. 8, 2008.

In January 2008, direct public consultations will also be taking place in several communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

•Happy Valley-Goose Bay (Jan. 14, 1 p.m. at the Hamilton Hotel.)
•Labrador West (Jan. 15, 1 p.m. at the Two Seasons.)
•Corner Brook (Jan. 17, 1 p.m. at the Glynmill Inn.)
•St. Anthony (Jan. 21, 1 p.m. at the Grenfell Heritage Hotel.)
•Gander (Jan. 23, noon at the Hotel Gander.)
•Clarenville (Jan. 24, 1 p.m. at the Clarenville Inn.)
•Marystown (Jan. 25, 1 p.m. at the Marystown Hotel.)
•St. John’s (Jan. 29, 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn.)

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