Nova Scotia’s minimum wage committee is recommending an annual increase of more than 50 cents an hour over the next three years.
The recommendation of a $0.55 an hour yearly increase is included in a report released by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education on Tuesday. The province says the recommendation is in line with the current national Consumer Price Index and the rate would be adjusted with inflation.
Nova Scotia saw a 15-cent-an-hour increase last year. As of April 1, an experienced worker in Nova Scotia started making $11 an hour, while someone with less than three months’ experience started earning $10.50 an hour.
As of Oct. 1, 2018, the minimum-wage rates across the country were as follows:
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In a news release Tuesday, Nova Scotia’s NDP said the proposed increase “doesn’t go far enough.”
“The growing consensus in Canada is that a $15 minimum wage is necessary to ensure people have enough money to put food on the table and heat their homes,” Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, under the increases proposed [Tuesday], we will be nowhere near that number even by 2021.”
But the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour is calling the increase a “substantial move forward,” adding that it will provide a “decent boost” for the over 25,000 minimum-wage workers across our province.
“This is a far better increase than we have seen in a while, and for the over 130,000 workers making $15 or less who are suffering from wage stagnation, this will be a start to tackling the growing problem of income inequality,” said Nova Scotia Federation of Labour president Danny Cavanagh in a statement.
Cavanagh noted that the increase of over 50 cents an hour — or five per cent — would result in an extra $20 an hour in the pockets of minimum-wage earners, in comparison to last year’s $6-a-week increase.
“Minimum-wage increases for the last number of years have been low, so a five per cent increase is a substantial move forward,” Cavanagh stated.
According to Statistics Canada, during the period of April 2016 to March 2017, 6.6 per cent of employees in Nova Scotia earned minimum wage. Minimum-wage earners work throughout the province and work primarily in retail trade, followed by food and accommodation industries.
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