Wage increase not the answer

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At first glance the province's announcement that the minimum wage is going to go up by 35 cents in October should be well received. That is until you think about its implications on those small businesses that rely on minimum wage employees and those same employees who know all too well this increase is not even close to keeping up with the cost of living.


Organizations that represent small businesses are complaining about how another minimum wage increase is going to hinder economic activity at a time when the provincial and national economies are still in recovery mode following one of the deepest economic downturns in decades.

According to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, minimum wage has gone up by 28 per cent in three years while inflation has only increased by four per cent. It has cost the restaurant industry $50 million and resulted in the loss of some 2,000 jobs in the Nova Scotia foodservice industry alone.

At the same time, those people working at or slightly above minimum wage have a long way to go before the hourly wage they receive comes close to paying the bills, putting food on the table and living anywhere but at or just above (or below) the poverty line. It also won't take long for that extra 35 cents an hour to get swallowed up by things like unstable fuel prices, rising grocery prices and Nova Scotia Power's insatiable desire to keep raising power rates.

Labour Minister Marilyn More said the wage increase falls in line with what's happening across the country and ensures Nova Scotians are paid fairly for the work they do. Unfortunately, she's a little off the mark.

We cannot forget a federal government promise from nearly 25 years ago promising to end child poverty in this country by 2000. Raising minimum wage in dribs and drabs is not going to make things any better for children or their parents, but - then again - placing the onus on small business to improve the lot of those living in poverty may be too much to ask as well.



Organizations: Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Ali Bubba
    June 01, 2011 - 00:22

    Where is all the retroactive pay for those getting minimum wage? When will all the increases stop? Is it government, unions or big business that are responsible for the always rising Cost of Living? Once you clear the smoke and break the mirrors, the view is plain greed for those that actually benefit from anything and those benefitting aren't getting minimum wage.

  • canada post or bust
    May 31, 2011 - 10:09

    It is amazing how the argument of what a raise in min wage can mean for struggling businesses vs employees is at the same time as when starting rates to canpost are >$20/hour for a money loosing tax payer subsidized corporation whose jobs require no greater skills then most starting jobs and their union is begging for more. Hmmmmm I guess somebody wins let me know who cause it definitely isn’t me……………..

  • Dara
    May 17, 2011 - 11:49

    WAGE INCREASR NOT THE ANSWER,these words must be comming from someone what is earning a six figure wage.I sympathize with small business ,but if these employees are not paid a wage that is keeping up to the cost of living,then they will not be any employees to hire,let alone pay

  • Robert
    May 17, 2011 - 11:17

    Minimum wage needs to remain on par with the cost of living. Too often prices climb and the little guys get left behind. The gap just gets wider and wider. Yeah... I know someone's gotta pay for it but we can't just say it's too expensive and toss it aside. If your business is teetering so close on the brink that a rise in the minimum wage will push you over... perhaps you need to re-evaluate a few things. Perhaps it's time to reconsider expenses in other areas or maybe some other method of cost saving. We simply can't continue to put as much profit as possible on the backs of the minimum wage earner. As for not finding work even though you have a diploma... what did you study? It's not a malicious question, but a serious one. Many people get diploma's in things that they would like to persue. The Arts being a major one... well there is usually no work in many of these fields. Just because someone spent 4 years in university majoring in the Arts does not guarantee work. Just like in trade school... if the market is saturated with carpenters don't persue carpentry. Get a degree in something in demand. Just my opinion.

  • Connie
    May 17, 2011 - 05:39

    I too have graduated with honors I might add and am working for just a couple dollars over minimum wage.. I live pay check to pay check and can barely pay the 'normal' bills let alone gas, groceries and tobacco.. Something has to change..

  • know it all
    May 12, 2011 - 06:09

    What - What are u saying that people that work in grocery stores or gas bars are uneducated ? maybe u should have went to a volcational school and got a trade like knowing how to pour coffee or flip a burger

  • what
    May 11, 2011 - 23:11

    I went to college I got a degree and got a job and now I make only a few dollars above minimum wage. I am still paying off my student loan to boot. It does not see right that I spent 2 years at college and have thousands of dollars to pay back in student loans, when I could of worked in a grocery store or gas station and made the same wage. Stop feeding the lazy people.