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Minimum wage increase coming September 1

Starting September 1st, the minimum wage will increase from $13.46 per hour to $15.20 per hour.

In a statement the GNWT said that the minimum wage had fallen behind rising living costs and the new figure should strike the balance between helping businesses and residents.

The increase will come the day after the minimum wage top-up expires, which had been extended until August 31 earlier this year. The top-up paid workers $18 an hour.

Alternatives North, a local social justice coalition, wrote in their Poverty Report Card for NWT, that a number of the GNWT’s policies fail to reduce poverty in the territory. They also said the minimum wage was too low.

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To provide a decent standard of living, someone would have to work for 37.5 hours, earning $23.95 in Yellowknife, $24.75 if they lived in Hay River and $23.78 in Inuvik, according to the report.

Education, Culture and Employment Minister R.J. Simpson said there had been lots of discussion about a guaranteed basic income in the Legislative Assembly, but said studies conducted in B.C. showed a guaranteed basic income likely wouldn’t be a catch-all solution for issues in the NWT.

“What you need are targeted supports,” Simpson said. “You need to deal with people if they have addictions issues. You need to make sure that there are jobs for people to have. You need to make sure people can be trained. You need to make sure people have housing.”

“Just throwing money at a problem, as simple as it seems, and that is probably the allure of it, it does not necessarily mean that it works,” he added.

The current minimum wage of $13.46 was increased from $12.50 back in April of 2018. Before that, the last increase had been in 2015.

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