News Release Archive


Changes to the province's minimum wage rules will help protect
lower-income workers in Nova Scotia, Labour Minister Guy Brown
announced today. 

The minimum wage will increase by 35 cents in two-stages. 
Effective Oct. 1, the amount will rise 20 cents, bringing the
current rate of $5.15 up to $5.35. A 15-cent increase on Feb.1,
1997 will result in a minimum wage of $5.50. The same increases
will take place in the road building and heavy construction

"This government is committed to protecting and helping Nova
Scotian workers," said the minister. "Increasing the minimum wage
will help people keep pace with increases in the cost of living." 
Since the last increase, in January 1993, there has been a 4.1
per cent increase in the consumer price index.  

"We also felt it was important to give employers the time and
notice needed to adjust to the changes. The minister noted that
government decided to implement the first increase after the
summer months, recognizing that the businesses have already made
plans and estimated costs for the 1996 tourism season. 

Today's changes result from an extensive review, initiated last
summer, involving input from employer and employee groups across
the province. The department received written submissions from
the Canadian and Nova Scotia Restaurant and Food Services
Association, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, the Canadian
Federation of Independent Business, employees in the hospitality
industry, and other groups and individuals. 

Mr. Brown said, "It's been over three years since the last
minimum wage increase.  A lot has changed. It is important that
Nova Scotia keep pace with economic trends, as well as the norms
in other Canadian provinces."

In addition to the wage rate, the review also examined a number
of outstanding issues involving Nova Scotia's minimum wage rules.

For example, today's changes now offer the protection of minimum
wage to domestic workers employed in private homes. The majority
of Canadian provinces already include domestic workers.  

Domestic workers include people who perform housework, property
maintenance, child care, supervision, or services - including
health or personal care - for the comfort, safety or convenience
of a member of the household.   

Recognizing the need for part-time or emergency help, employers
are not required to pay minimum wage to domestic employees who
work less than 24 hours a week. As well, cooperative family
arrangements will be recognized as such.                         

Another change gives minimum wage protection to qualified
practitioners and students engaged in training for architecture,
dentistry, law, medicine, chiropody, optometry, pharmacy,
professional engineering, public or chartered accounting,
psychology, surveying and veterinary medicine. This move is
primarily aimed at helping students who are gaining work
experience, job training or professional designation.  

The minister announced that more discussion is needed on the
issue of a set minimum wage rate for servers. During the review,
employer associations within the hospitality industry proposed
the implementation of a lower minimum wage for employees who
supplement their wages with tips.  

Under this proposal,known as the tip-differential,the minimum
wage for servers would not change, and tips would account for any
subsequent increases in minimum wage. Currently, only Ontario and
Quebec have a tip-differential system.

"Implementing the tip-differential raises many questions. It is
important to have more discussion with employees and employers in
the industry before any decisions are made", said the minister.   
The department will look at options for examining the issue in
more detail.

Recently, other provinces have announced increases in their
minimum wage rates. New Brunswick will increase to $5.50 in July,
and Prince Edward Island will rise to $5.40 in September 1997.


NOTE TO EDITORS: A backgrounder is available by calling 
                 Communications Nova Scotia, 902-424-4492 
                 or 1-800-670-4357.

Contact:  Jennifer MacIsaac, (902) 424-4680 or (902) 424-3219
          Ross Mitchell, (902) 424-5404

jlw                       May 07, 1996        12:55 p.m.