Federal workers to receive higher minimum wage amid carbon tax hike

The Trudeau Liberals are giving 30,000 federal workers a raise on April 1 — the same day their anticipated carbon tax hike comes into effect.

Federal workers to receive higher minimum wage amid carbon tax hike
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The Trudeau Liberals are giving federal workers a raise on April 1 — the same day their anticipated carbon tax hike comes into effect.

Federally regulated employees, numbering approximately 30,000 at airports, banks, post offices and most Crown corporations, will get a $0.65 hourly raise from $16.65 to $17.30 per hour next Monday.

According to the government, this is a direct response to the rising cost of living.

“Everyone’s feeling the pinch of inflation,” said Minister of Labour and Seniors Seamus O’Regan Jr. “So, wages must keep up with the cost of living.”

In 2021, Ottawa introduced the federal minimum wage that adjusts annually based on Canada’s annual average consumer price index from the previous calendar year.  If the provincial or territorial minimum wage rate exceeds the federal rate, employers must pay the higher of the two.

Bill C-67, An Act For Granting To His Majesty Certain Sums Of Money, proposed billions in new spending last week to cover rising federal expenses for the fiscal year 2023/24. Spending included $1.2 billion to cover pay increases for federal employees. 

The rise in federal spending correlates to the rise in the number of workers in government-regulated professions employed by Ottawa.

Last July, the National Post reported that Justin Trudeau hired 98,268 workers since becoming prime minister in 2015.

According to information from the Treasury Board, Canada had 357,247 federal workers at the time — nearly 40% higher than the previous Conservative government.

“If the feds are going to do this then they better find savings by ending the bonuses at failing Crown corporations,” said Franco Terrazzano, federal director to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF). 

For 1,345 of the 1,589 executives employed by separate Crown agencies, they earned $28,245,502. Of that, only 1,029 executives received nearly $18,000 per person in performance incentive pay.

Between 2015 and 2022, federal executives received $1.3 billion in bonuses. Nine in ten (89%) executives “earned” bonuses between 2019/20 and 2021/22. 

Meanwhile, the federal worker pay hike coincides with the government’s decision to increase the carbon tax another $15 to $80 per tonne.

In 2019, the feds introduced tax, starting at $20 per tonne and increasing to $65 per tonne in 2023. It is subject to successive $15 annual increases until 2030.

After accounting for rebates, the carbon tax will cost the average family up to $710 this year, according to the budget officer. 

"The PBO is clear: the carbon tax costs families hundreds of dollars more than the rebates they get back," Terrazzano said earlier.

“Canadians need tax relief … to make life more affordable,” he added.

The Taxpayers Federation urged Parliament to provide meaningful inflation relief by axing the tax.

Conservative MP Philip Lawrence asked the Bank of Canada governor last year how long a period ending the carbon tax would reduce inflation. Tiff Macklem said one year.

On October 30, he told the Commons finance committee it "would create a one-time drop in inflation of 0.6 percentage points" from the current rate of 3.8%.

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

PETITION: Stop The Pay Hike

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