June 8th, 2022

Houston government must act on low wages

HALIFAX – With rapidly rising costs of living, government action is needed to increase wages across the board for Nova Scotians. Today’s Public Accounts Committee will discuss the impact of low wages on government revenue and expenses.

“Over and over again we’ve heard the Houston government say they understand the pressures families are under with rising costs but they continue to avoid taking any action that could directly help people in need,” said Claudia Chender, NDP MLA for Dartmouth South. “When people can’t afford the basics they are more limited in what they can buy which means fewer customers for local businesses. When people make enough to get by they spend that money at stores and restaurants in their community, supporting the local economy.”

Low income levels have a direct impact on public finances. Income tax and sales tax make up about half of the revenue government uses to provide services like health care and education, and build roads and schools. When so many people in the province are earning low wages it has a direct impact on the government’s ability to fund public services and infrastructure.

“People are struggling to pay their bills, find affordable housing, and cover the cost of medications. The Houston government can’t continue to ignore the impact low wages are having on more and more Nova Scotians,” said Susan Leblanc, NDP MLA for Dartmouth North. “Provinces across the country are finding different ways to help people deal with the rising cost of everything while Mr. Houston continues to say there’s nothing more he can do.”

Nova Scotia’s minimum wage remains among the lowest in the country and it will take another two years to reach a $15 minimum wage which is already far below a living wage in Nova Scotia.