Homecare, minimum wage, education, the economy highlight campaign trail promises Thursday

New Brunswick's NDP leader has released an innovation and economic growth plan that boosts the minimum wage and creates a so-called public investment bank.

Jennifer McKenzie says her plan fights social inequalities by introducing a $15 minimum wage so that workers don't have to take on multiple jobs just to get by.

Campaigning in Saint John, McKenzie said the plan would also create "green collar" jobs by making large public investments in the renewable energy economy and the retrofitting of homes to improve energy efficiency.

She said an NDP government would also spend on research and development, training and infrastructure to promote growth in high-tech and innovation-based companies.

McKenzie said the program would be funded by eliminating Opportunities NB and existing regional development programs, to the tune of $130 million.

New Brunswick's Green party has released a homecare plan that focuses on more individualized care and increased salaries for homecare workers.

Leader David Coon says a one-size-fits-all, profit-driven model leads to lower in-home care standards and unacceptable wages.

He says a flexible system that matches need with care is what's required.

Coon says if his party forms government, it would increase training requirements for homecare workers, boost salaries to ensure a living wage and improve standards for in-home care.

He says a Green government would partner with non-profit community based nursing homes with the capacity to offer homecare services.

Coon was elected in 2014, becoming the first Green member in the legislature.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant says a re-elected Liberal government will restore trades to every high school in the province.

Gallant says by giving youth opportunities to learn the important skills in the trades, it will strengthen the workforce.

He says the money to establish modern trades infrastructure in the schools will come through his government's infrastructure program.

Campaigning in Miramichi, Gallant also said he would take steps to boost enrolment in trades programs by working with the province's community colleges.

He says by boosting training in the trades, his government is creating more opportunities for youth.

The provincial election is Sept. 24.

New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs says the province's literacy rate is an embarrassment, and a Tory government would take steps to address it.

New Brunswick Grade 8 students have some of the lowest reading scores in the country, and nearly 20 per cent of New Brunswick adults have literacy levels below the national average.

Higgs is pledging to have 85 per cent of students meet or exceed Grade 2 reading standards by 2022, and that the Grade 2 class of 2022 will be top three in Canada in literacy and math.