Minimum wage bill and others expected to pass before Manitoba legislature breaks - The Globe and Mail

Minimum wage bill and others expected to pass before Manitoba legislature breaks – The Globe and Mail

Politicians in the Manitoba legislature were preparing to pass more than 20 bills Wednesday night, including one to increase the minimum wage, before their summer halt.

The bills, some of which were first introduced to the legislature last fall, also covered issues such as civilian oversight of the police and security in the legislative building.

“We had a strong legislative session… some [bills] “To make life more affordable for Manitoba residents,” Prime Minister Heather Stefanson said, referring to a bill offering higher property tax deductions.

The minimum wage bill proposed giving the government the power to increase the hourly rate above the current formula, which it adjusts every October to match the inflation rate from the previous year.

Under this formula, the pay is set to increment 40 cents to $12.35 an hour. Stefansson said Manitoba needs to stay competitive with other provinces, and the government will decide on a new figure after consulting business and labor leaders.

Another bill due for a final vote would give additional powers to the Independent Investigation Unit, a civilian body that oversees the police. The unit will have more power to force officers to cooperate with investigators.

Other legislation would allow the government to ban certain activities – to be decided later by the Council of Ministers – from the Legislative Council. Perpetrators can be cleared and fined. Long camps were set up on or in front of the legislature earlier this year.

There have also been bills on allowing electronic vote counting during provincial elections, unfreezing public sector wages and ensuring the personal security of political candidates by removing their home addresses from the Manitoba elections website.

Final votes on other bills weren’t expected until the legislature resumes in the fall, including one that eases restrictions on the use of weed pesticides in cosmetics. Another decision would limit electricity prices, although critics say it would shift some powers from the independent regional regulator to the government. A third will allow more private alcohol sales by expanding the range of products sold by private sellers.

The new opposition Democrats used the rules of procedure to make sure the bills for pesticides, electricity, etc. were not passed before the summer recess.

“The NDP is looking forward and is ready with the solutions families need,” NDP leader Wap Kino said in a press release.

The summer recess will include by-elections on Tuesday in the northern Thompson district. The NDP stronghold has been vacant since the death of Daniel Adams in a highway crash last December.

NDP leader Wap Kino missed the last two days of spring seating to help with the party’s campaign in Thompson.

The Progressive Conservative government has been lagging the New Democrats in the polls for more than a year. Regional elections are scheduled for October 3, 2023.

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