All citizens should benefit
If general business community doing well, this should be reflected in wages paid to workers
Over the past couple of years, Prince Edward Island has enjoyed a period of strong and sustainable economic growth.
In fact, our province leads Atlantic Canada in many economic indicators - and that record of success is likely to continue. For instance, the Conference Board of Canada is predicting that our economy will grow by 1.8 per cent this year. That is well above the forecast growth in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
As a result of this expansion, employment opportunities are also rising.
Between May of 2016 and May of this year, there was a 3.9 per cent increase in the number of employees (seasonally adjusted). This rapid rise in employment opportunity was by far - the highest increase in Canada during that period.
In tandem with that growth in employment opportunities, our manufacturing sector is also doing very well. For example, manufacturing sales during the January-May period grew by 3.2 per cent over the same period last year. This growth is particularly encouraging, because it reflects increasing economic diversity on Prince Edward Island.
Given this historic economic expansion, it is very important for Prince Edward Island to ensure that all its citizens are capable of benefitting from improved economic conditions.
One way to do that is to gradually increase the minimum wage paid to Island workers.
To my mind, if the general business community is doing well, this should be reflected in the wages paid to workers. And for that reason, government will continue to ensure that the minimum wage increases gradually and sustainably in the years to come. We are committed to working with our business community and as previously committed, we will provide appropriate notice of any future increases.
Recently, the Guardian published a letter which suggested that “basic economic principles suggest that increasing minimum wage will result in job losses.”
With all due respect, I would point out the increase in the number of employees between May of 2016 and May of 2017.
During this period, minimum wages increased - and so did the demand for employees.
I firmly believe that as we continue to experience economic growth and diversification on Prince Edward Island, we have to help ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to participate in that growth.