As of October 1, 2023, the general and student minimum wage in Nova Scotia is $15.00 per hour.
The minimum wage has been increasing yearly and is expected to increase again on October 1, 2024. These increases will significantly benefit Nova Scotians who work for minimum wage.
This article covers the current and scheduled increases to the minimum wage, a brief history, Nova Scotia’s tax rate, labour standard rules, and more.
Since 2012, the Nova Scotia minimum wage has increased yearly. Here is a brief history of the yearly increases.
- October 1, 2023: $15.00
- April 1, 2023: $14.50
- October 1, 2022: $13.60
- April 1, 2022: $13.35
- April 1, 2021: $12.95
- April 1, 2020: $12.55
- April 1, 2019: $11.55
- April 1, 2018: $11.00
- April 1, 2017: $10.85
- April 1, 2016: $10.70
- April 1, 2015: $10.60
- April 1, 2014: $10.40
- April 1, 2013: $10.30
- April 1, 2012: $10.15
The general minimum wage in Nova Scotia does not apply to employees in construction and property maintenance, as well as employees in logging and forest operations.
To find out more information about their minimum wage, contact Labour Standards.
In Nova Scotia, the general minimum wage order sets employment standards for the following:
Employees who work over 48 hours per week are expected to be paid 1.5 times their regular wage.
This applies to hourly workers and some salaried employees. Some industries, like those with irregular working hours, do not follow this rule.
For employees called to work outside regular working hours, the employer must pay an employee for at least three hours at the minimum wage rate, even if the employee only works for one or two hours.
Employees must be paid at least the minimum wage for all the time they spend waiting to perform work at their workplace.
This rule still applies even if they do not work for a certain period, like 30 minutes to an hour.
The general minimum wage order states that piecework employees must be paid at least the minimum wage for the hours worked, even if they do not produce enough.
A piece worker is someone who is paid an amount for each piece they produce (for example, an artist or clothing manufacturer).
Any difference in wages must be paid.
This rule applies to most pieceworkers, except those employed on a farm harvesting fruit, vegetables, or tobacco.
The general minimum wage order sets rules for how much employers can take from an employee’s minimum wage for board and lodging. The amounts are as follows:
- $68.20 for board and lodging each week
- $55.55 for board only each week
- $15.45 for lodging only each week
- $3.65 for a single meal
If an employee is required to wear a uniform, apron, or smock, the employer cannot take the cost of the uniform from the employee’s wages if their hourly rate will fall below the minimum wage.
Some employees who are not covered by these minimum wage rules include:
- Certain farmworkers
- Real estate and car salespeople
- Insurance agents licensed under the Insurance Act
- Employees working on a fishing boat
- Athletes, while engaged in activities related to their athletic ventures
- Employees at a non-profit summer camp or playground
See here for all employees not covered by the rules.
The Nova Scotia income tax rates for 2023 are as follows:
|NS Tax Brackets 2023||Tax Rate 2023|
|Up to $29,590||8.79%|
|$29,591 to $59,180||14.95%|
|$59,181 to $93,000||16.67%|
|$93,001 to $150,000||17.50%|
|$150,001 and over||21.00%|
You’ll need to pay federal taxes in addition to provincial taxes. The federal tax rate for 2023 is:
|Federal Tax Bracket 2023||Tax Rate 2023|
|Up to $53,359||15%|
|$53,360 to $106,717||20.50%|
|$106,718 to $165,430||26%|
|$165,431 to $235,675||29%|
|$235,676 and over||33%|
The lawful payroll deductions by your employer in Nova Scotia include the following:
- Statutory deductions, including income tax, CPP, and EI
- Court-ordered deductions
- Charges for board and lodging
- Recovery of pay advances or overpayments
- Deductions for purchases on the employer’s business account
- Deductions that provide a benefit to employees (i.e. health insurance)
You can view a list of all lawful deductions in Nova Scotia here.
On October 1, 2023, the Nova Scotia minimum wage increased to $15.00 per hour. A further increase is expected by October 2024.
The province accepted the recommendations from the Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Review Committee, which asked for a $15 minimum wage by 2024.
The minimum wage in Nova Scotia will increase annually based on the national consumer price index plus an additional 1%.
Related: New Brunswick Minimum Wage.
Below is a table of the current minimum wage in Canada in 2023:
|Province||Minimum Wage Rate|
|Alberta||$15.00 general workers; $13.00 for students under 18 (less than 28 hrs/week when school is in session)|
|British Columbia||$16.75 general workers; $16.75 for liquor servers|
|Ontario||$16.55 general workers; $15.60 for students under 18 (less than 28 hrs/week)|
|Prince Edward Island||$15.00|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$15.00|
As of October 1, 2023, the Nova Scotia minimum wage increased to $15.00 per hour.
Yukon is the province with the highest minimum wage in Canada, at $16.77 per hour.
Saskatchewan has the lowest minimum wage in Canada at $14.00 per hour.
A living wage is the basic hourly wage people need to cover their expenses and live in the community. As of 2021, the average living wage in Nova Scotia was around $20.40 per hour, much higher than the current minimum wage.