Small enterprise group desires NS to look past minimal wage hikes to handle poverty

A gaggle representing small companies is pushing the Nova Scotia authorities to look past minimal wage hikes to handle poverty.

“If you wish to repair poverty, there’s an entire sequence of issues that [the] authorities can work on. You may work on the welfare ranges,” Louis-Philippe Gauthier of the Canadian Federation of Impartial Companies instructed a provincial legislative committee on human sources.

The committee met Tuesday on the Nova Scotia legislature to listen to from the private and non-private sectors on labor shortages and the minimal wage.

“All people goes again to this default mentality that minimal wage will repair every part,” Gauthier mentioned in an interview with CBC Information.

He mentioned that small companies are struggling to make ends meet because the minimal wage will increase. On April 1, the minimal wage in Nova Scotia went up 90 cents to $14.50 an hour. In October, a second enhance will take the wage to $15 an hour.

Nova Scotia has additionally agreed to extend the minimal wage every April primarily based on the Shopper Worth Index proportion change for the earlier calendar 12 months, plus one per cent.

Gauthier mentioned not everybody working a minimal wage job requires a residing wage, which is outlined because the minimal hourly wage earned in a 35-hour work week wanted to afford shelter, meals and requirements. A 2022 report calculated it will be $23.50 for Halifax employees.

He mentioned many individuals who earn the minimal wage aren’t supporting a household.

“[A] substantial quantity are college students which can be nonetheless at school,” Gauthier mentioned.

In response to the Nova Scotia Minimal Wage Overview Report, 74 per cent of minimal wage staff within the province are non-students, and 53 per cent have already got post-secondary schooling. The report additionally states that 34 per cent of minimal wage staff in Nova Scotia are over the age of 35.

Wage subsidies steered

Collette Robert is a part of the province’s Minimal Wage Overview Committee, a gaggle made up of worker and employer representatives which makes suggestions to the federal government on setting the minimal wage.

Robert, an worker consultant, instructed the committee she holds a grasp’s diploma in science, and works two jobs to make ends meet. Certainly one of her jobs is minimal wage, and the opposite pays solely barely increased, she mentioned.

Robert steered a authorities wage subsidy may assist assist each employees and companies who’re struggling.

“Everybody deserves to earn a residing wage,” she instructed CBC Information in an interview.

The committee assembly was additionally heard from deputy minister Ava Czapalay of the Division of Labor, Expertise and Immigration. She introduced quite a lot of social packages to assist Nova Scotians who wish to discover jobs that pay greater than the minimal age.

“They’ll go to a neighborhood Nova Scotia Works workplace, the place they will discover alternatives to do every part from making ready their CV, proper by means of to getting some counseling on interview expertise,” mentioned Czapalay.

New Democrat MLAs Gary Burrill and Suzy Hansen raised questions in regards to the poverty of many employees throughout the province expertise.

“How can we get right into a state of affairs the place all people who has a full-time job can have the cheap assure that they’ll have the ability to assist their family, and pay their payments?” mentioned Burrill in an interview.

One facet all events agreed on was the necessity to assist Nova Scotians dealing with financial hardships.

“We want to have the ability to do extra, and do higher, for these communities and people folks [need] to have three and 4 jobs to reside, they usually cannot afford their groceries, they can not pay for his or her remedy,” mentioned Hansen.

Gauthier acknowledged the issue of poverty within the province, however hopes laws aside from minimal wage hikes can tackle it.

“There are different instruments within the toolbox,” he mentioned.