News release

Government Announces Largest Increase to Minimum Wage in a Decade

As Nova Scotia’s economy continues to grow, government is committed to ensuring all workers can get ahead. That is why, on April 1, Nova Scotia’s minimum wage rate will increase by $1 an hour, to $12.55 per hour.

This increase represents the largest annual increase to Nova Scotia’s minimum wage since 2010.

“All Nova Scotians should benefit from our province’s economic growth and steadily improving business environment,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “We are committed to moving forward in a balanced way by making changes that benefit both workers and businesses.”

Government is also eliminating the inexperienced minimum wage. Currently, employers can pay an inexperienced rate when an employee has less than three months’ experience in the kind of work they do and has worked for them for less than three months. The decision to remove the inexperienced minimum wage will bring Nova Scotia in line with all other provinces and territories across Canada.

Government will support businesses by eliminating the partial hour rule in Nova Scotia. Currently, the partial hour rule requires employers to round up time worked for minimum wage earners. This means if an employee works for 15 to 30 minutes, the employee must be paid for a half hour. If an employee works for 31 to 60 minutes, the employee must be paid for a full hour.

Businesses have been advocating to remove the partial hour rule, as it will help lessen the costs and the administrative burden associated with the provision and reduce the overall regulatory burden.

“Our government is committed to building an economy that works for all of us,” said Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Labi Kousoulis. “These changes will help us to achieve that by fostering a stronger workforce and supporting businesses across the province.”

Quick Facts:

  • a $12.55 per hour minimum wage means Nova Scotia will have the second highest minimum wage in Atlantic Canada
  • the increase brings Nova Scotia closer to the highest minimum wage in the country, which is $15 per hour
  • Nova Scotia has the lowest business incorporation fee in the country and there is no fee to register in the first year of business
  • in 2017, government committed to reducing regulatory burden to businesses by $25 million. The initiative was the first of its kind in Nova Scotia and was part of a broader strategy to build a strong foundation for economic growth
  • in January 2019, government reported on more than 60 regulatory initiatives that were estimated to save businesses $34 million annually, exceeding its $25 million target. Significant efforts included the modernization of the Registry of Joint Stocks Companies, estimated to save businesses over $7 million dollars annually and the Business Navigator Service, estimated to have saved businesses approximately $3.4 million dollars since being launched in 2017
  • building on this momentum, government has set a new target of reducing undue burden to businesses by an additional $10 million annually by the end of 2020
  • government continues to make investments in programs and initiatives aimed at saving businesses money. In 2017, an increase to the small business tax threshold from $350,000 to $500,000 was announced, meaning more savings to invest in their businesses and people
  • building a stronger workforce and retaining more young people is also a priority for government. Salary incentive programs like Graduate to Opportunity make it easier for businesses and employers to hire recent graduates

Additional Resources:

For a copy of the Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Review Committee Report:

Information on government’s work to reduce Nova Scotia’s Regulatory Burden:

Details on Nova Scotia’s Graduate to Opportunity program: