Nunavut MLAs ponder $13-per-hour minimum wage

Bill to raise minimum wage from $11 to $13 an hour goes to standing committee

By THOMAS ROHNER

A Nunavut legislative standing committee will not consider a proposal to raise Nunavut's minimum wage from $11 to $13 per hour. (FILE PHOTO)


A Nunavut legislative standing committee will not consider a proposal to raise Nunavut’s minimum wage from $11 to $13 per hour. (FILE PHOTO)

Working Nunavummiut may soon enjoy the highest minimum wage in Canada: $13 per hour.

That’s after MLAs in Iqaluit quickly passed first and second reading of a bill Oct. 29 that amends the Labour Standards Act to allow for the increase.

“This bill increases the minimum wage to $13 per hour and allows for future increases in the minimum wage to be prescribed by regulation,” Justice Minister Paul Okalik told the legislative assembly.

The assembly’s standing committee on legislation will now consider the bill and report back to the house, but a timeline for when that will happen hasn’t been set.

It’s unlikely the standing committee will meet before the end of 2015, however, because after the current 2015 fall session finishes its regular businesses, MLAs will turn to a mid-term leadership review that could last until Nov. 10.

According to the legislature’s website, a standing committee hearing is already scheduled for later this month on the annual report of the language commissioner.

MLAs last increased Nunavut’s minimum wage on Jan. 1, 2011 to $11 per hour.

But a report commissioned that same year by Nunavut’s anti-poverty secretariat suggested that increase didn’t offset the high cost of living in the territory.

The Northwest Territories currently has Canada’s highest minimum wage at $12.50 per hour, followed by Ontario ($11.25) and Alberta ($11.20).

New Brunswick has the country’s lowest minimum wage at $10.30 per hour.

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