Nova Scotia’s premier is dismissing a call from the third party NDP to raise the province’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over three years.
Stephen McNeil said the increase would produce inflationary pressures that would be felt by small businesses and other workers.
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McNeil said the province would be more open to looking at things like increasing the basic personal income tax exemption in the future, when it’s more affordable for provincial coffers.
“When we get back to where we have some room fiscally, I think obviously we should be looking at that,” McNeil said.
If the province does increase the personal exemption McNeil said he’d like it to be on a sliding scale so that those who are better off continue to have the same exemption while lower income Nova Scotians would have a higher exemption.
In April, the province tabled a budget with a $17.1 million surplus, McNeil said it’s too “thin” to make any changes to the exemption this year.
“The measures we’ve made, we believe are appropriate,” he said. There’s no time frame for when McNeil would implement such a change.
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NDP Leader Gary Burrill said increasing the minimum wage would stimulate the economy because it would improve the buying power of lower income workers.
“The premier’s solution has been this year to raise the minimum wage by 10 cents, our solution is to raise it by $4.30 cents over three years,” Burrill said. “I think we have a better solution.”
The minimum wage in Nova Scotia currently sits at $10.70 an hour. The provincial minimum wage sits in the middle of the pack compared to the minimum wage in other provinces and territories. The highest minimum wage is in Nunavut at $13, the lowest is in British Columbia at $10.45.
According to the NDP, Nova Scotia’s minimum wage has gone up by $0.40 since the Liberals came to power.
-With files from