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Northwest Territories’ minimum wage goes up today

The minimum wage in the Northwest Territories increases from $10 to $12.50 on Monday, June 1.

The territorial government announced the increase back in January, which makes the NWT’s minimum wage the highest in Canada.

“The move to increase the minimum wage is part of ongoing efforts to support the people of the NWT and ensure they have opportunities, possibilities, and a fair wage,” said Jackson Lafferty, the employment minister, in January.

At the time, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) argued the increase would inflate payroll costs for employers while delivering little benefit to workers on a low income.

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Ben McDonald, who sat on the committee examining the NWT’s minimum wage, acknowledged the increase was “fairly dramatic”.

But McDonald added: “The NWT, over time, has been falling behind.

“If we’re going to try to make it livable in the Northwest Territories for people at the lower end of the scale, we have to be really conscious of having a substantial minimum wage.”

Other critics have argued that too few people in the NWT earn the minimum wage for the increase to have much of an impact.

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