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Nova Scotia’s Minimum Wage Expected To Increase To $11.55 April 1

Stephen McNeil, right, chats with Labi Kousoulis, in Halifax. Image: file photo/The Canadian Press)

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s minimum wage — currently the lowest in Canada — is going up, with the province’s labour minister saying the pay hike will help workers and their families.

The increase will see the provincial base pay rise to $11.55 on April 1, followed by increases of about 55 cents a year for the next three years.

The province’s minimum wage is currently $11, the lowest in the country and close to Statistics Canada’s low income cut off threshold — a calculation based on the cost of food, shelter and clothing.

The pay raise is based on recommendations by the Minimum Wage Review Committee, which Labour Minister Labi Kousoulis accepted Tuesday.

He says the pay increase will help minimum wage earners while providing businesses a three-year outlook so they can plan ahead.

The minimum wage is also expected to rise to about $12.10 in April 2020 and $12.65 in April 2021. Starting April 1, 2022, the rate will be adjusted annually with inflation.

According to Statistics Canada, 6.6 per cent of employees in Nova Scotia earned minimum wage during the period of April 2016 to March 2017.

Minimum wage earners work primarily in retail, restaurant and accommodation industries, and most are part-time workers under the age of 25.

In addition to the general minimum wage rate, Nova Scotia also has an “inexperienced” minimum wage set at 50 cents less.

The 55−cent increases reflect a 30−cent “adjustment” plus inflation, projected to be 25 cents over the next three years.

Minimum wages across the country are currently highest in Alberta, set at $15 an hour, followed by Ontario, which has a general minimum wage of $14.

In Atlantic Canada, P.E.I. currently has the highest minimum wage of $11.55, followed by $11.25 in New Brunswick and $11.15 in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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The Canadian Press