Minimum wage hikes will add $54.5 million to payroll costs across Atlantic Canada

Halifax, March 30, 2024 – Payroll costs across Atlantic Canada will increase by $54.5 million on April 1, when the minimum wage increases in all four provinces, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) estimates. In response to past minimum wage hikes, 58% of business owners indicated that they have not been able to absorb the cost of past increases and have had to increase the prices of their goods and services to be able to raise wages.  

“With 40% of small businesses in Atlantic Canada still reporting insufficient demand (lowered sales), these increases will add to the cost pressures already present on insurance, fuel, electricity, occupancy and borrowing,” said Beatrix Abdul Azeez, policy analyst at CFIB. “It’s no wonder that four out of five business owners continue to be concerned with the cost of doing business.” 

With each province applying varying methods and sometimes arbitrary decisions to minimum wage increases, CFIB urges the four provincial governments to link minimum wage increases to a set percentage of the median wage in their respective provinces. 

“Over the last few years, small businesses have seen all four governments deviate from the once-a-year schedule while applying various subjective criteria,” adds Louis-Philippe Gauthier, CFIB’s Atlantic Vice President. “Provinces in Atlantic Canada need to get back to a once-a-year frequency and tie minimum wage increases to something that’s real. Connect minimum wage increases to the actual increases in the median wage in the province. As wages increase, then the minimum wage can increase by the same amount.” 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:  
Louis-Philippe Gauthier, Atlantic Vice President 
(506) 961-5706  

CFIB, Minimum Wage – Small Business Perspectives survey: Findings are based on 4,104 CFIB members who are owners of Canadian independent businesses, from all sectors and regions in the country. Data reflects responses received between August 17 – September 27, 2023.    

Your Voice - November 2022: An omnibus, controlled-access online CFIB survey. December findings are based on from 3,148 CFIB members who are owners of Canadian independent businesses, from all sectors and regions of the country. Data reflects responses received between December 7 to the 19th. For comparison purposes, a probability samples with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/- 1.7%, 19 times out of 20.  

February Business Barometer®: February findings are based on 645 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from February 1st to the 12th. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9 per cent 19 times in 20. Every new month, the entire series of indicators is recalculated for the previous month to include all survey responses received in that previous month. Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’s performance to be stronger over the next three or 12 months outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level near 65 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its potential.   

About CFIB  
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region, including 10,200 in Atlantic Canada. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at