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Halifax living wage policy
February 19, 2021

Halifax’s living wage policy ‘right thing to do,’ says unionized construction industry

Brad Smith has watched construction workers finish up their day on the job, only to head off to work at another. 

The executive director of Mainland Nova Scotia Building said that alone is enough to support Halifax Regional Municipality’s incoming living wage requirement

“We see first-hand the impacts on people that cannot have a dignified wage and (are) working two jobs,” Smith told Halifax’s community planning and economic development standing committee Thursday morning. 

“Our position is what you’re doing is the right thing to do and it’s a path we need to continue on.” 

Effective April 1, the municipality’s contractors for solid waste services, custodial and janitorial services, snow and ice management and security services will be required to pay its workers $21.80 per hour.

The figure was extracted from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report released in September, which determined the current living wage for Halifax is $21.80 per hour. 

Smith, Bob Shepherd, president of Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association, and Jack Wall, president of Cape Breton Building Trades, presented to the committee on behalf of the unionized industrial/commercial/institutional construction industry. 

The presentation was a stark contrast to what the committee heard last month from Melody Hillman, acting president and chief executive officer of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia, Grant Feltmate, executive director of the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association, and Karen Slaunwhite, executive director of Nova Scotia Home Builders Association. 

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