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Going hungry on minimum wage. The fight for $15 in Halifax

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – An information picket was held  outside McDonald’s on Spring Garden Road this morning to remind passers by that minimum wage in Nova Scotia is not enough to live.

“I barely make ends meet. Every once in awhile I have to cut down on my food costs by quite a bit, Jonethan Brigley, one of the protesters and chair of the ACORN Dartmouth chapter, told the Nova Scotia Advocate.

Brigley works in the fast food industry, and earns minimum wage.

“What you do is go hungry, eat less during the day.  It is extremely rough to live on minimum wage,” Brigley said.

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The information picket was organized by The Fair Wage Coalition, a coalition of workers, students, and community members coming together to fight for a $15/hour minimum wage here in Nova Scotia.

The group is composed of ACORN Nova Scotia, Solidarity Halifax, the Canadian Federation of Students, the Dalhousie Student Union, the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labor Council, and the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour.

130,000 Nova Scotians struggle to make ends meet on less than $15 an hour.

“A living wage in Nova Scotia is calculated to be $20,60. That would be enough to live truly comfortably,” said Brigley.

“But $15.00 at least is a good starting point. It beats the 10 cents increase minimum wage earners in Nova Scotia just received. 10 cents is nonsense.”

“It takes 606 hours at the current minimum wage to earn one year’s tuition,” said Dalhousie student John Hutton, It used to be the case you would work for the summer, and that would pay your tuition for the whole year.”

“Roughly 200 students each month use the Dalhousie foood bank. Students are forced to choose between paying for food or paying for school, and all this while working.”

“All studies show that an increased minimum wage either boosts the economy, because people spend more, or has a neutral impact, Hutton said.      

Similar rallies were held all across North America.

Earlier this week newly elected NDP leader Gary Burrill talked about his party’s commitment to push for a $15 an hour minimum wage in Nova Scotia three years from now.

But neither the governing Liberals nor the Progressive Conservatives are supportive.




  1. What is the sense in raising minimum wages? Everything will just go higher in price the second it happens. It always does. Groceries,rent,utilities and everything else will just skyrocket.No one will ever get ahead. I work retail and am living hand to mouth just like everyone else.

  2. I am a college graduate and i don’t even make that. So what happens when my educated skills are paid the same as someone with no experience flipping burgers at MacD’s? Is that fair?

    1. life isn’t fair sugar tits, there is no magical job fairy for people because they went to college.

  3. I did three years at NSCC starting in 2010, worked during the summer 40+ hours a week for three months and 16-20 each week during the school year. All my free time went into projects / school work. I also didn’t live in res and instead split a cheap apartment, might not have been fun but it was do-able. Just for students, maybe if they worked more and partied less they’d be ok.

  4. Raising minimum wage isn’t going to accomplish anything except piss a lot of people off. Nobody thinks of the people that have worked for a long time with the same company just to get to 16 or 17 an hour. How are they going to feel when minimum wage is just a dollar under them. Companies won’t adjust employees wages that are over the 15 & once minimum wage is increased so will the cost of living. All this will accomplish is putting the smaller companies out of business cuz they can’t pay their employees. We need to lower the cost of living not raise the minimum wage. If they increase minimum wage it should be manditory for all companies to increase by the same dollar increase to anyone already making more then 15 an hour or there will be riots. LOWER THE COST OF LIVING!!!!!!

  5. So 606 hours. That’s about 75 days of 8 hours a day. So if you get out of school in May for summer you can work 5 days a week form June1st till August 31st to get those hours. That’s what I work all the time. 5 days a week. Every week. I know some students party and go on big trips and feel once school is over for the summer it is their time. Not all but some. I know they have to eat and pay rent as well. But many many people have gone to school with no help or just student loans. I have a friend that made 14 thousand a year with two kids and a dead beat dad and she made it threw 4 years of nursing school. It’s not right but that is the way it is. They will never raise the wage that high until the price of everything goes up so much that they have to raise the money up.

  6. Basic economics…If a retail store selling 100 items ups an employees wage from $10 – $15 per hour. The cost of each item goes up 5 cents. I will gladly pay an additional 5 cents to see Nova Scotians be able to live properly. The additional disposable income will spur spending, increase demand, and create jobs. The middle class creates jobs this way….it is a fallacy and propaganda that corporations create jobs. Corporations will only hire someone if there is a demand to hire someone. Corporations are cost adverse.

  7. The “small businesses will have to close” argument is dumb. If there are more people with disposable income that means more customers to shop at their little stores. They are barely keeping afloat because people barely have enough to get by. Also for the “lower the cost of living” crowd, good luck, I’m not sure what amount of regulations will have to be put in place to artificially hold down those prices and that is going to be more harmful to businesses than paying employees more. If we are going to put people’s feelings about how much other people are paid above the common good, then you might as well say nuke the minimum wage and make everyone fight tooth and nail for their share. I’d vote for $15 minimum and say fuck those who want to whine and want to be pissy about how much they make/what it took to get there.

  8. Alright you people made that choice to go for the extra schooling that’s your own fault I have my grade 12 job and what not I make almost 20 an hour in and battery factory so yes I think people should have it up to 15 dollars an hour schooling doesn’t do anything its a money grab for the government

  9. I love how people think it’s not fair that some people graduate from college and only make that much, like its relevant. Just because you graduated doesn’t make you good at it. Life isn’t fair, no one cares about your education they care about your capabilities.

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