Nova Scotia’s living wages are calculated annually to reflect changing living expenses.
Nova Scotia’s living wage rates for 2023 are:
- $25.40 for Annapolis Valley
- $22.85 for Cape Breton
- $26.50 for Halifax
- $24.30 for Northern
- $25.05 for Southern
The wage increases averaged 14% this year. These year-over-year increases are the most significant we have seen since we began calculating the living wage for Halifax in Nova Scotia in 2015.
Such unprecedented increases are due to overall costs of living, for shelter and food, in particular. The formula used to calculate the living wage is designed to ensure that the household earns enough income to afford the expenses in the living wage budget once government transfers are added to the family’s income (such as the Canada Child Benefit or GST credit), and deductions have been subtracted (such as income taxes and Employment Insurance premiums).
This year’s calculations show that our tax and transfer systems need to be more sensitive to relatively small increases in taxable income before taxes increase or/and transfers are clawed back. Living-wage earners should face a more progressive tax and transfer system that more fairly reflects their ability to pay taxes and the level of income needed to afford a decent, moderate cost of living. The progressivity of federal and provincial taxes could be improved by adding more tax brackets.