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N.B. advocacy group continues to push for living wage

By Regis Phillips Apr 4, 2024 | 7:48 AM

New Brunswick’s recent minimum wage increase to $15.30 per hour isn’t livable, according to one advocacy group.

The 55-cent increase, which took effect Monday, is based on New Brunswick’s Consumer Price Index of 3.6 per cent for 2023.

Janelle LeBlanc, provincial coordinator of the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice (FrontNB), said the higher wage still falls short of a living wage for New Brunswickers.

LeBlanc says this is especially true for minimum-wage workers who struggle to make ends meet with the rising cost of living.

“One permanent and structural measure that would help with affordability is increasing the minimum wage to a living wage, which would then increase annually according to the New Brunswick Consumer Price Index,” said LeBlanc.

She adds there was a movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 over a decade ago, but the government needs political will to increase the minimum wage to a living wage.

“It is an election year and we are hoping to see this in all party platforms, so we’re gonna continue fighting for a living wage,” said LeBlanc.

The Human Development Council considers the living wage for New Brunswick to be over $20 per hour. LeBlanc said the living wage calculations show how much a household would have to earn to cover all necessities and allow families to live with dignity and enjoy a decent quality of life.

“Paycheques are not going as far as they used to. Until the New Brunswick government gives priority to investments in our social safety net, the minimum wage will have to cover more than basic needs like housing and food. Workers deserve a minimum wage increase that goes beyond the cost of living,” added Leblanc.

The legislation requires a review of the minimum wage every two years. A review will take place later this year.

FrontNB said it will submit a brief and continue to advocate for a living wage.