PE Ledger

P.E.I. business owners preparing for the minimum salary increase


Key takeaways: 

  • ‘It’s necessary to increase that minimum salary so that people can have a good … quality of living.’
  • Meister states it’s essential to increase the minimum salary. 

The minimum salary on P.E.I. is set to go up by 70 cents Friday, and that growth is getting a cross-reaction from the small business community whose payroll expenses will climb. 

“I think you’re always concerned regarding the bottom line, my labor prices, and my food expenses,” said Ken Meister, owner of Holman’s Ice Cream Parlour in Summerside. 

“This simply adds to your expenditures for another year.”

Meister helps the increase, though almost all of his employees already earn more than the minimum salary. 

“It’s necessary to raise that minimum salary so that people can have a good measure and quality of living,” he said. 

Also read: Opposition suggests the government enhance access to health care for rural P.E.I.

‘The timing is miserable’

The minimum salary on P.E.I. is set to go up by 70 cents Friday

The Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce team has heard various reactions to the upcoming growth. 

“The timing is regrettable for the businesses because they’re in the healing stage of the outbreak,” said executive director Tara Maddix. 

She said numerous businesses in the tourism industry, which have already taken a brutal impact due to COVID-19, are most concerned by the pay increase. 

When the minimum salary goes up Friday, it will be $13.70 an hour, the highest in Atlantic Canada. It is still far from a living wage, which is estimated at $19.30 an hour for someone living in Charlottetown, according to a 2020 statement by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 

Green M.L.A. Steve Howard raised that point in the legislature Wednesday. 

“Let’s begin talking in terms of livable pay. We could get in a basic income guarantee,” Howard said while discussing the high living expense for Islanders. 

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