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NDP calling for increased minimum wage, guaranteed income

The Guardian

As P.E.I.'s minimum wage undergoes a review, the provincial NDP are making the push for higher wages for Islanders.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday, NDP leader Mike Redmond said putting more money in Islanders' pockets is important and P.E.I.'s minimum wage should increase to $10.30 per hour.

He also wants the government to work towards a basic income guarantee.

"We need to find ways to ignite the economy," Redmond said.

The news conference was held the day before the deadline for submissions to the Employment Standards Board, which is conducting the annual review of P.E.I.'s minimum wage.

P.E.I.'s minimum wage stands at $10 per hour after several years of increases.

Along with recommending a minimum wage increase, the NDP's submission to the Employment Standards Board calls for ongoing analysis of that increase on business growth and overall economic performance.

The idea of a guaranteed income pilot project isn't new and would provide Islanders with a top up if their incomes fall before a certain level.

Redmond said P.E.I.'s size and demographics make it an ideal spot for a guaranteed income pilot project.

"We would endorse that whole heartedly," he said.

Former federal NDP candidate Joe Byrne joined Redmond for the news conference and said under a guaranteed income pilot project, P.E.I. would be able to measure things like health outcomes, education outcomes and food consumption patterns.

"I think if we did this in P.E.I. we would actually be able to set out the indicators that we can test," he said.

The biggest employer the changes would address would be small businesses, Byrne said.

"Small businesses in our community thrive because people are using the small businesses."

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