Study calculates living wage for Halifax and Antigonish

December 19, 2016

HALIFAX/ANTIGONISH, NS—Two working parents with two children need to each earn a minimum of $19.17 an hour to make ends meet in Halifax, and $17.30 an hour in Antigonish, says a new study released today by the the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives–Nova Scotia, in partnership with the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition.

The report, Working for a Living, Not Living for Work, uses the Canadian Living Wage Framework to calculate two local community living wage rates for Nova Scotia. This is the first time the calculation has been done for Antigonish. The living wage for Halifax decreased by almost one dollar, from $20.10 in 2015 to $19.17 in 2016, mainly due to the new Canada Child Benefit.

“The living wage is an important benchmark because it is evidence-based and locally-tested; it has been proven to increase productivity, decrease turnover, and allow workers to fully contribute, in the workplace and beyond,” says report co-author Christine Saulnier, CCPA Nova Scotia Director.

“Paying a living wage is a voluntary commitment that employers can make in directly compensating workers. However, as the living wage calculation shows very clearly this year with the Halifax update, the more generous government benefits or public services, the less pressure on the wages families need to earn to meet their needs, thus reducing pressure on employers.”

Low wage workers in Antigonish shared how much of a difference a living wage would mean to them: “I think it would be living without being stressed to the max and making yourself sick”; It means not working multiple jobs.”

Christine Johnson, co-author and Chair of the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition, says of their community’s wage calculation, “Understanding the challenges of working for low incomes in a rural setting was important to us. We assumed that the family in our research model lives and rents in the town of Antigonish. But this means the wage rate is a conservative estimate that many people told us would leave their families struggling to find affordable and suitable rental housing. Many families choose to move out of the town, but then they find it hard to stay within the transportation budget. They told us that this would contribute to their isolation.”


The full report, Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax and Antigonish Living Wages for 2016, is available for download at

For more information and to arrange interviews:

Christine Saulnier, Nova Scotia Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, [email protected], (902)240-0926.

For Antigonish, contact Christine Johnson, Chair, Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition, [email protected], (902) 870-2847.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice.

The Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition is an alliance of individuals, groups, and organizations concerned with poverty alleviation working to address how poverty affects health and well-being in our community.