Halifax/Kjipuktuk— “I am pleased that the Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Review Committee recommends moving to $15 by October of this year instead of April next year. I urge the government to accept this recommendation,” says CCPA-NS Director Christine Saulnier.
“The minimum wage has already eroded because of the 7% inflationary increase in 2022. These workers need to have their purchasing power restored. However, October is still too far away for this to be fully implemented, and they must be compensated as soon as possible.”
“As for the hourly rate, the living wage calculations show why the minimum should be higher than $15 already. The minimum should be adjusted for inflation plus 1% as is recommended, but the base is still too low. The lowest living wage in Nova Scotia is $20 in Cape Breton and it is thus important the Committee plan for a path forward that reaches that amount,” adds Saulnier.
The Committee notes that the government could help low-wage workers in other ways, which CCPA-NS has outlined in the living wage report. Provincial income supports, like the NS Affordable Living Tax Credit or the NS Child Benefit, could be boosted, and the thresholds increased. On the costs side, more housing investment is urgently needed, especially in non-profit, social, and cooperative housing. The government could expand the rental supplement to support actual rental costs and not just average rent costs and make it available to more people. Ensuring more people have access to universal public services means they must pay less out of pocket for essentials. For example, the provincial government could improve its pharmacare program by making it more accessible.
As Saulnier will outline next week at the Standing Committee on Community Services, “The cost of living pressures have spotlighted the long-term struggles facing low-wage workers and all those made vulnerable by the holes in our social safety net. The government needs to plug these holes permanently.”
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Lauren Matheson, 902-579-9555 (cell) or [email protected]
The CCPA-NS is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with social, economic, and environmental justice.