Legislation to boost wages for 130,000 Nova Scotians
May 10, 2016
Today, the NDP Caucus is introducing legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 over three years. This will boost wages for 130,000 workers across Nova Scotia.
“The minimum wage is far too low. There are thousands of people across the province who are working full time but still stuck in poverty. We have the power to change this situation and lift tens of thousands of our people up. People need to be able to live,” says Gary Burrill, Leader of the Nova Scotia NDP.
The call for a $15 minimum wage has been spreading across North America. The NDP government in Alberta has already begun increasing its minimum wage to $15. The State of California and cities of Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York have also already passed plans to increase the minimum wage to $15.
“Low-wage workers in our province deserve a raise,” says Dave Wilson, NDP Labour Critic. “Increasing wages is a great way to stimulate the economy and reduce poverty.”
Since the Liberals were elected, the minimum wage has only gone up by 40 cents over three years – 10 cents in 2014, 20 cents in 2015, and 10 cents in 2016.
“Ten cents more an hour is simply not in the ballpark of what is needed, “says Burrill. “That’s 80 cents a day if you work 8 hours. What does that buy?” says Burrill.
Under the NDP’s plan, the minimum wage would increase to $11.70 on January 1st, 2017. It would go up to $13.35 on January 1st, 2018, and increase to $15.00 on January 1st, 2019. This represents a major increase in the purchasing power of the 130,000 workers in Nova Scotia who make under $15.00/hour. The legislation also eliminates the “inexperienced” wage, which is often used by large employers to pay lower wages to young workers.
The NDP is also committed to ensuring genuine small and family-operated businesses are not negatively impacted by increasing the minimum wage. The NDP will use the regulatory powers under the Labour Standards Act to exempt small and family-operated businesses which are unable to immediately pay higher wages.
“Small and family-operated businesses are not the minimum wage problem,” says Burrill. “The problem is large corporations, often from outside Nova Scotia, who take advantage of low wage rates in our province.”