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Nova Scotia Government Slaps Small Business with Unexpected Minimum Wage Hike

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Minimum Wage to Increase by $1.00 on April 1st, 2020

Halifax – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is expressing extreme disappointment with Premier McNeil’s decision to go back on the word of his government to provide predictability on the minimum wage for small business owners.

Today the Premier and Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Labi Kousoulis surprised business owners by announcing the government has changed its mind on providing predictability on minimum wage increases. Now, as of April 1st, small businesses in the province will be forced to immediately increase minimum wage by a full $1.00 to $12.55 an hour, the largest increase in a decade.

Last year on announcing a $0.55 increase, the province promised business owners it would take a gradual approach over three years. “That approach of providing predictability has been thrown out the window,” said Jordi Morgan, VP Atlantic for CFIB. “This is not in line with the government’s previous commitment nor recommendations by the minimum wage review. I believe this will erode trust between this government and small business owners.”

The effect of the increase will be felt in only 60 days, meaning small businesses owners will have to tighten their belts, decrease hours, lay off staff or raise prices to adjust.  Using the example of an employer in the food and beverage sector, this wage increase will cost small business owners an additional $2,270 in labour costs per employee, per year.

“The government has been quick to accept credit for regulatory reform, but this move shifts an immediate, unexpected and difficult-to-manage burden onto small business owners,” added Morgan.