The New Brunswick government will increase the minimum wage by $2 per hour in 2022.
The 17 per cent increase represents the most significant jump in the rate since 1980, the provincial government said in statement.
The statement further added that a scheduled increase of $1 per hour in April and another $1 per hour increase in October will boost the province’s minimum wage to $13.75 per hour, the top rate in Atlantic Canada.
“New Brunswickers are having a hard time making ends meet, and the current minimum wage has many people concerned,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “Having represented an economically diverse area for many years, I have learned first-hand the challenges they are facing every day.”
New Brunswick currently has the lowest minimum wage in the country and is lower than the rates in the other Atlantic provinces by significant margins. Since 2019, the median wage in the province has increased by 14 per cent compared with a two per cent increase in the minimum wage.
“We realize that given the current economic conditions, these additional increases are critically important,” said Holder. “This increase will help improve the standard of living of our lower-wage earners and ensure we are competitive with our neighbouring provinces.”
This adjustment will benefit about 15,500 minimum wage earners, as well as 30,000 New Brunswickers who make more than the present minimum wage but less than $13.75 per hour.
The first adjustment will come in April to give the business community the time to prepare and adjust.
In 2019, the Minimum Wage Regulation was changed under the Employment Standards Act to index minimum wage increases to New Brunswick’s consumer price index.
However, the provincial government determined a correction was necessary in order to boost the minimum wage to an appropriate level in a single year. In 2023, the minimum wage will resume being tied to consumer price index.