Opposition Supply Motion: Federal Minimum Wage

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank the official opposition for putting forward a motion that allows us to review the question of the minimum wage for federal workers.

I have two questions. First, I would like clarification as to whether the NDP motion intends to extend a $15 an hour minimum wage to all classes of workers who are under federal jurisdiction, which would include rail workers, airline personnel, and so on, or just those workers directly employed, which I understand would be a small number.

Second, in putting the motion forward has the NDP considered whether this is the most strategic place to put pressure on the provinces to raise the minimum wage, or whether the labour skewing effects of the temporary foreign worker program in depressing wages might have had a larger impact on skewing the wages currently being paid across Canada?

Wayne Marston: Mr. Speaker, since the member is getting a two for one today, I would be glad to answer.
Yes, it would be intended for all in the federal jurisdiction. Considering the question around the temporary foreign workers, they are not mutually exclusive. There is the fact that the temporary foreign worker program has succeeded in driving down wages in Canada. We should be addressing that as a separate issue, but of course the $15 is directed at Canadians. The temporary foreign workers are allowed to be paid 15% lower than Canadian wages, so that is an even worse distortion. I thank the member for the question.