Halifax Today with Christine Saulnier 01 April 2019
Nova Scotia’s minimum wage has gone up.
As of April 1, 2019, experienced workers now make $11.55 an hour, and increase of 55 cents, but a small group rallying outside the Maritime Centre early Monday afternoon says that’s not enough.
The event organized by Halifax’s Fight for $15 and Fairness chapter gathered about 50 people to demand a minimum wage increase to $15 and hour, along with higher income assistance rates and greater benefit protection for all workers.
The Nova Scotia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Christine Saulnier, said those making minimum wage are still struggling to make ends meet.
“They’re often not getting enough hours in one minimum wage job, they’re cobbling together multiple jobs in order to pay for their basics” she said. “It’s important as a province that we recognize this wage needs to increase substantially and it’s good for the economy.”
NDP leader Gary Burrill attended the rally and said Nova Scotians working full-time hours at the current minimum wage don’t bring enough to pay for rent and groceries.
“If the NDP had 20 more seats in the legislature, we’d be fast moving towards $15 an hour right now,” he said. “We’d be doing like they’re doing in Alberta, B.C. and Ontario.”
The 55 cent increase is the biggest annual rise in minimum wage in recent years.
In November, the Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Review Committee recommended the hourly wage be boosted by 30 cents plus inflation for three years.
Minimum wage is expected to go up to about $12.10 in April 2020 and $12.65 in April 2021.
According to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, starting April 1, 2022, the rate will be adjusted annually with inflation.