Nova Scotia’s minimum wage will be increased by 10 cents an hour as of April 1.
The provincial government says it accepted a recommendation to raise it to $10.40 per hour from a committee that reviewed the minimum wage.
The hourly wage for someone with less than three months’ experience is also increasing by 10 cents an hour, to $9.90.
According to Burt Langille, president of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, it could stand to benefit Pictou County workers.
“When there is an increase in minimum wage, it does tend to bump up the wages of those making more than that,” he said. “But since we’re talking about a less than one per cent increase, it might be hard to argue that.”
One comment that Langille has heard is regarding those who earn gratuities and how they fall outside the government’s changes to minimum wage.
He noted that the growth in minimum wage in the last decade has been strong, which may be cause for concern for some.
“It may cause some business owners facing more labour costs rather than marketing or research,” Langille said. “There can be a stifling effect.”
He’s more concerned about the federal government’s move to make those employed in seasonal work, such as fishing, forestry and tourism and hospitality seek work elsewhere.
“That’s the nature of work in this province. Those industries pulp around $3 billion into our economy.”
If anything, Langille hopes that the small increase may make people thing twice about leaving the county for work out west.
“I think that people will work for less money to work in Pictou County,” he said. “We can’t compete with Alberta wages, but our quality of life is better.”
Nova Scotia has the fourth highest minimum wage rate in the country, behind Nunavut, Yukon and Manitoba.
Once Ontario’s planned increase to $11 per hour takes effect in June, Nova Scotia’s minimum wage will be fifth.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn