Nova Scotia’s minimum wage to increase from $11.00 to $12.65 by 2021 followed by a return to CPI formula - Retail Council of Canada
Minimum Wage | Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s minimum wage to increase from $11.00 to $12.65 by 2021 followed by a return to CPI formula

The Nova Scotia government has responded to public pressure and announced three-years’ worth of significant increases to its minimum wage. Between April 1, 2019 and April 1, 2021, the province’s minimum wage will move from $11.00 per hour to $12.65. This will be a 15% increase which will occur in annual bumps of $0.55.


For years, Nova Scotia has followed a legislated approach where annual minimum wage increases mirrored the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year. RCC supported this approach as it created predictability for retailers in planning for upcoming labour costs. In recent years however, many provinces have implemented unpredictable and/or substantial increases to their minimum wage. These actions have resulted in Nova Scotia’s minimum wage becoming the lowest in Canada.

Accordingly, Nova Scotia’s Minimum Wage Advisory Committee recommended that the provincial government use its legislated ability to temporarily suspend its CPI formula and increase the province’s minimum wage by $0.55 annually over the next three years. The provincial government has accepted this recommendation and thus, by 2021, Nova Scotia’s minimum wage will have increased by $1.65. Following the final increase on April 1, 2021, the province will revert to its legislated approach of increasing minimum wage by the change in CPI for the previous year.

RCC did not support the announcement of a 15% increase but understood that the provincial government was under immense pressure to bring its base wage to a comparable level within Canada. Therefore, RCC focused its efforts on securing a government commitment to return to the CPI formula following the three-year catch up process.

Due to RCC’s successful advocacy, each Atlantic Province has committed that changes to their minimum wage only occur on April 1 of each year.

Next Steps:

RCC will continue to present Nova Scotia as a positive example of how all provinces should set their minimum wage.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jim Cormier, Director, Government Relations (Atlantic) at: or 902-422-4144