The government of New Brunswick announced that it will be raising the province’s minimum wage from $11.00 to $11.25 on April 1, 2018. The government promised that following last year’s increase to $11.00, all future minimum wage increases would be based on changes in the rate of inflation. Although the government has yet to enshrine this promise in legislation, this year’s increase in minimum wage is in line with the country’s 1.9% increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 2017.
On April 1, 2018, Prince Edward Island’s minimum wage will increase by 2.6% to $11.55 per hour. Despite ongoing advocacy from the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the PEI government refuses to tie its minimum wage increases to a rate of inflation formula.
Nova Scotia will increase its minimum wage to $11.00 ($10.50 for inexperienced workers) on April 1, 2018. Nova Scotia has legislation which mandates that its minimum wage increases be based on the previous year’s increase in CPI.
Minimum wage changes should be based on the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year.
As part of a growing initiative for greater harmonization between the Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have all legislated that if changes to minimum wage are to occur, it will only happen on April 1st each year.
RCC has commended the New Brunswick government on its decision to tie this year’s minimum wage increase to the rate of inflation. However, RCC continues to be very specific in its call for the government to legislate that its minimum wage increases be based on the previous year’s increase in CPI.
RCC uses the Nova Scotia model as a positive example of how other provinces should determine their minimum wage.
This spring, Nova Scotia’s Minimum Wage Review Committee will review the current formula for adjusting the minimum wage. This will include looking at the current rate and the approach to setting the minimum wage. Atlantic premiers have also recently committed to looking at options for harmonizing the minimum wage across the Atlantic region.
RCC will continue to push for legislated predictable minimum wage increases based on the change in the consumer price index. This allows for predictability and depoliticizes any such decision.