P.E.I. has lowest average hourly wage for jobs listed April to June: Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada tallied money offered in 1,500 jobs advertised in 2nd quarter
P.E.I. "help wanted" listings for April to June 2015 offered the lowest average hourly wages in the country, according to a recent Statistics Canada report.
The report crunched the wages offered in 1,500 job listings on P.E.I. in the second quarter, and found the money averaged $13.70 an hour. That's almost $2 less than the average for jobs listed for the same time period in neighbouring New Brunswick.
The math just doesn't work.— Jane Ledwell, Status of Women
Advisory Council on the Status of Women Executive Director Jane Ledwell, who is also part of the P.E.I. Working Group for a Liveable Income, said the news is disappointing.
"It's really discouraging to see that that average is still so low," said Ledwell. "It's just unimaginably hard to get by these days."
Island cost of living not lower
Ledwell says the provincial government has often excused low wages on the lower cost of living on the Island, but she says rental rates, electricity and food are not cheaper on P.E.I.
"It's just not factually true," said Ledwell. "Trying to cover all those expenses with a low hourly wage is … impossible to imagine. The math just doesn't work."
Ledwell said her group has proposed a pilot project to the province for a basic income guarantee that would see minimum incomes for adults set at $18,000 a year, and $8,000 for a child.
"We still think that is a very good option for the P.E.I. economy and for P.E.I. households to be able to meet their needs."
Ledwell said she feels that the province is open to this possibility, but for the 5-year pilot project to move forward there would have to be a commitment from the federal government, and those negotiations haven't started yet.
Standing committee tour suggested
The leader of the provincial NDP, Mike Redmond, agrees a basic income guarantee would likely be the best solution.
But he suggests in the meantime,the province convene a standing committee to tour the province and gather information on how else to reduce poverty.
"So that's why I asked the premier 'Let's go across the Island. Let's have discussions,'" Redmond told CBC News.
"Let's first of all admit the fact that we're failing. Okay, because once you admit you have a problem then you can start to fix it."
Redmond would like to see that provincial tour start early in 2016, so a report could be filed within six months to a year that could help form a long-term strategy for poverty reduction.
Average hourly wage offered for vacant positions
- Newfoundland and Labrador: $17.55.
- Prince Edward Island: $13.70.
- Nova Scotia: $16.60.
- New Brunswick: $15.75.
- Quebec: $18.30.
- Ontario: $19.30.
- Manitoba: $18.60.
- Saskatchewan: $18.55.
- Alberta: $19.85.
- British Columbia: $18.00.
- Yukon: $18.60.
- Northwest Territories: $25.35.
- Nunavut: $28.00.
Source: Statistics Canada job vacancy and wage survey