KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – When Saskatchewan adjusted its minimum wage for inflation on October 1st Nova Scotia became the province with the lowest minimum wage in Canada.
That milestone event caused Christine Saulnier of the Nova Scotia office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) to pull out the calculator and draw some surprising conclusions.
“Today, the Nova Scotia minimum wage ($10.85 for experienced workers) is worth less than it was 40 years ago; its peak value was in 1977 ($11.14 after adjusting for inflation),” writes Saulnier in a column for Behind the Numbers.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, as Alberta and Ontario have committed to, would help a lot of Nova Scotians.
“In 2016, 125,200 workers in Nova Scotia—that’s 32% of all workers in the province—earned $15 or less,” writes Saulnier.
These low-paid workers are not just teenagers, as is often suggested. 80% are 20 or older, 71% do not live with their parents, 58% work for large businesses, and 56% are women.
“Do not believe the claims that higher wages will result in job losses, raise consumer prices, and do little to help low-wage workers,” writes Saulnier.
Earlier this summer over 50 economists signed an open letter in support of Ontario’s promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2019.
“For years, we have heard that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs, raise prices and cause businesses to flee Ontario,” the letter says. “This is fear-mongering that is out of line with the latest economic research.”
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