Province speeds up increase to minimum wage

Will also move to annual CPI adjustments starting April 2024

Province speeds up increase to minimum wage

Nova Scotia has announced it will hasten an increase to the province’s minimum wage, due largely to high inflation.

The wage will rise to $15 by Oct. 1 — six months sooner than scheduled.

“The minimum wage rate impacts the lives of workers and businesses, and we know the rising cost of inflation has been difficult for both,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration.

“After further consultation, we are accepting the full set of recommendations put forward by the Minimum Wage Review Committee. Given the unexpected and significant increase in inflation, the committee carefully considered the impacts and put forth a balanced plan.”

New Brunswick recently announced an increase to its wage.

Under Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Code, the committee is mandated to conduct an annual review of the minimum wage in Nova Scotia. A December 2021 report from the group had recommended a $15 minimum wage by April 2024, but the latest report cited “the unforeseen and significant increases in inflation” and their impact on workers, along with the bottom line of many businesses.

The minimum wage, currently $13.60, will increase twice this year:

  • April 1 – $14.50
  • October 1 – $15.00

An average of seven per cent of workers, or about 28,500 Nova Scotians, worked for minimum wage during the period from April 2021 to March 2022, according to the government, and they worked primarily in retail, food and accommodation.

Initially forecast to rise 4.3 per cent in 2023, average salary increase budgets are predicted to jump 4.7% for Canada, excluding freezes.

CPI adjustments

The committee also recommended the minimum wage increase annually based on the national consumer price index (CPI), plus an additional one per cent, effective April 1, 2024.

Starting April 1, 2024, the minimum wage rate set the preceding April will be adjusted annually on April 1 by the projected annual national CPI percentage change for the previous calendar year, plus an additional one per cent (i.e., if CPI is four per cent on April 1, 2024, the minimum wage will increase to $15.25, based on the April 1, 2023, minimum wage of $14.50 plus five per cent).

A B.C. worker who claimed she was wrongfully terminated by her employer now has to pay back wages she earned because she engaged in “time theft”.


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