N ova Scotia's minimum wage will make an historic $1 leap in April, but caveats in the province's plan will still leave Nova Scotian workers stuck in the middle of the pack.
Just last year Nova Scotia's $11 minimum wage was the lowest in the country, but the provincial government's plans hope to knock Nova Scotia higher with the $1 raise, bringing the minimum wage rate to a whopping $12.55.
"I'd appreciate a dollar increase, I think anyone would appreciate a dollar increase," says Nan McFadgen, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Nova Scotia.
"It's wonderful but if you look at it from the perspective of—'you're living in poverty, here's a dollar an hour.' You're still going to live in poverty, you've got just a tiny bit less poverty...I struggle to pat the government on the back for that."
This is the largest minimum wage leap the province has made since 2010, though it still falls short of the $15-an-hour rate groups in Halifax have been lobbying for.
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a person working full time in Halifax would need to make $20.10 an hour to make a living wage, meaning the province's wage increase still leaves minimum wage workers below the poverty line.
To ease the burden on business owners in NS, the changes will also remove the partial hour rule, which sees employers round up to a full hour even if only a half hour was worked.
"Businesses have been advocating to remove the partial hour rule, as it will help lessen the costs and the administrative burden associated with the provision and reduce the overall regulatory burden," reads the province's press release.
The province will also become the last in Canada to eliminate the inexperienced minimum wage—a lower wage employers could pay those employees with less than three months experience in their field.