NDP Leader Jennifer McKenzie says the provincial party has joined the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour so workers can get a fair wage. 

"New Brunswick families deserve a fair wage and a decent living," McKenzie said Wednesday. "That's why an NDP government would increase the minimum wage by $1 a year for four years until it reaches $15 an hour."

The New Brunswick NDP wants the province to follow the lead of Alberta and Ontario, two provinces that are gradually increasing the minimum wage over two years.

The minimum wage in New Brunswick is $11 an hour, and McKenzie said many people have to hold down two or three jobs to make ends meet. 

The NDP leader said $15 an hour is a living wage. 

"This is what people need to have accommodations and food and cover their basic costs of living. So $15, it may not be quite enough but it's a good start to get people to where they need to be."

Little stability 

McKenzie said there is an increase in casual and part-time work in New Brunswick, which provides no stability to employees. 

"These jobs have no guarantee of hours or shifts and no benefits, paid sick leave, prescription drugs, dental plans or private pension plan," she said.

If the NDP is elected, the party would review employment standards in the province. 

"We must cultivate stable employment right here in New Brunswick." 

Help for franchise workers

The review would look at increasing the coverage of employment standards legislation to those now excluded by it.

The NDP also wants provisions that would make franchise owners responsible for the working conditions of their employees.

She said the practices of making employees work split shifts, calling them in without pay or leaving them not knowing when they're supposed to work have to stop.

With files from Roger Cosman