NDP Leader Joe Byrne knows it is possible to phase in a $15 minimum wage immediately.

“We’ve seen cost of living rise significantly and we’ve seen significant issues in rent going up. We have all seen the cost of food go up, and it is only fair that wages rise as well,” said Byrne at an announcement at Charlottetown’s Voluntary Resource Centre.

“ That’s why we commit to raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour immediately. Nobody working 40 hours a week should be living in poverty, they should be thriving” the NDP leader said.

P.E.I. has the highest percentage of workers in the country earning $15 an hour or less in 2015, according to Statistics Canada. More than thirty-eight per cent of P.E.I.’s workforce, or about 23,900 workers, are classified as the working poor.

Leader Joe Byrne and the NDP know the benefit of leaving no one behind. “When we look at the places around the world where you’ve seen increases in minimum wage; you see improvements in health outcomes, improvements in people’s quality of life and improvements in the local economy,” Byrne says. “Island groups such as the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income and the Cooper Institute have been advocating for a livable minimum wage as a key part of a bigger plan to eliminate poverty.”

“Having a strong minimum wage, rather than one that is not working, will be really good for our economy. Local business does better because when people have more money in their pockets, they spend that money locally, and that money stays in the economy,” Byrne said.

“Really what it is, is a boost to the economy, but a boost from the bottom up.”

For the full NDP PEI  Income security plank please see – http://ndppei.ca/income-security