09/13/2014 01:54 EDT | Updated 11/13/2014 05:59 EST

Mulcair: Minimum Wage For Federal Employees Will Be $15 An Hour If NDP Government Elected

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Thomas Mulcair celebrates his win at the NDP leadership convention in Toronto, Ontario, March 24, 2012. Canada's social democrats Saturday chose a firebrand center-leaning MP to run for prime minister in 2015, after the death of a leader who led them to into the opposition benches in a historic ballot last year. Former deputy leader Thomas Mulcair won the New Democratic Party nomination with 33,881 votes, beating out six rivals by vowing to track the NDP to the center to appeal to a broader electorate and consolidate its recent gains. AFP PHOTO / Geoff Robins (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER - The New Democrats are promising to bring back the minimum wage for employees who work in federally regulated sectors.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair announced on Saturday that if the NDP forms the next government it would set a minimum wage of $15 an hour for those who work in companies or agencies regulated by the federal government, such as many workers at airports or in telecommunications.

Mulcair says the Liberals and Conservatives did nothing to raise the bar while in power, and he accused the Liberals of scrapping the federal minimum wage when they were in power in 1996.

"It is unacceptable in a country as rich as Canada that people can work full time and still live in poverty," he said. "It was a cynical move to begin with by the Liberals because instead of raising the bar, they lowered it."

Mulcair says although the number of workers who would benefit is small _ overall federally regulated full and part-time workers make up only about six per cent of the Canadian workforce _ raising their wage will pressure the provinces to do more.

"This leadership we are showing today by talking about a living wage — a $15-an-hour wage — will have positive repercussions on the provinces," he said.

The New Democrats made a similar promise before the last two federal elections.

Mulcair also spent time at this weekend's annual meeting of Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union.

All three federal parties are going into political campaign mode, as the 2015 election is scheduled to take place just over a year from now.

Saturday's Vancouver announcement is the first in what is expected to be a number of NDP announcements as it rolls out detailed planks of its platform this fall.

It's also expected the New Democrats will unveil plans for a national child-care program and infrastructure investment.