Labour Media release Poverty

Press release: A giant step forward for low-wage workers in Halifax

October 1, 2020

Halifax, NS— Last night, Halifax Regional Council passed a motion that will make a real difference in the lives of some low-wage workers in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The CCPA-NS applauds the Council and urges it to stay the course.

On September 2nd of this year, CCPA-NS released its updated calculation of the living wage for Halifax, concluding that in order to earn a living wage, a person working a full-time, full-year job must earn $21.80 in Halifax. The motion that was passed last night approves “the adoption of a Supplier Code of Conduct (including Living Wage requirements)” using CCPA’s calculated wage rate and will begin to be implemented when contracts are up for negotiation after April 2021. 

Christine Saulnier, CCPA-NS Director, also co-author of the living wage report and living wage lead for the Atlantic Region had this to say: “the motion that was passed will make a significant difference in the lives of those who take care of our public properties and buildings from landscaping, to snow removal to cleaning and security. The average wage of custodial contracts is $12.69 and for security is $14.55. Earning a living wage means not having to worry about making ends meet, not sacrificing your food budget to pay your rent.” 

Saulnier goes on to say, “I hope that the HRM adopts a full living wage policy that applies to all direct and indirect workers and that other municipalities follow suit. Cutting costs on the backs of low waged workers doesn’t save taxpayers money. Municipal budgets are already impacted by the pressures on its budget to help people manage to live on a low-income.”

 Alec Stratford, Chair of the CCPA-NS Steering Committee and Executive Director of the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers, had this to say: “This decision represents a significant shift in this province–a living wage contributes to greater mental health and well-being, greater equality and contributes to addressing the huge inequities that continue to exist in our province. The political leadership demonstrated by Halifax’s Regional Council needs to be admired and celebrated by all orders of government. Other municipal governments, as well as the provincial and federal governments should follow their lead.” 

The 2020 living wage report can be downloaded as well.