Increase in minimum wage, to $11 coming in April 2017

Minimum wage workers in this province will be waiting three more months to see a bump in their paycheques. New Brunswick's Liberal government will increase minimum wage to $11 an hour in April.

Promises to raise minimum wage coming in April

New Brunswick Liberals promise to increase minimum wage by 2017, but New Brunswick workers could be waiting a few extra months for the increase. (CBC)

Minimum wage workers in this province will be waiting three more months to see a bump in their paycheques. New Brunswick's Liberal government will increase minimum wage to $11 an hour in April. 

As recently as September, the Liberals said New Brunswickers making minimum wage will be earning more by 2017. In an interview with CBC New Brunswick, Donald Arseneault, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, clarified the increase will come at the start of the new fiscal year. 

New Brunswick's increase will take place the same time as in Nova Scotia.

In an interview with CBC New Brunswick, Donald Arseneault, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, said an increase is scheduled before the end of 2017, in April.

 
Labour Minister Donald Arseneault, said an increase in minimum wage will happen by April 2017. (CBC)

Businesses relieved

The news comes as a relief for the business community, who had voiced concerns during a meeting with the province a few months ago.

Carol O'Reilly, CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, said business owners were unanimous in saying January was too soon for a change.

Carol O'Reilly of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, said business representatives voiced concerns at a meeting with the province a few months ago. (CBC)

''After Christmas, the stores, the restaurants, the sales really plummet,'' said O'Reilly. ''I really feel that was being very thoughtful to realize it would have caused a lot of duress if it was to start in January''

''It's important that we do work with the business community,'' said Arseneault. ''They look for predictability, and the fact that we can give them a schedule of increased rates ahead of time.''

'They have a lot more clout'

For people like Jean-Claude Basque, representative of the New Brunswick Front for Social Justice, the move is seen as the province choosing businesses over workers — a tough pill to swallow.

''That's the reality,'' said Basque. ''They have a lot more clout with this present Liberal government than minimum wage workers or organizations like us.''

Jean-Claude Basque of the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice said although he is happy wages are going up, it's still not enough. (CBC)

Basque said the increase is a step in the right direction, but the government needs to make promises about 2018 and beyond. He would like to see wages increased to $15 an hour, which is what he considers a liveable wage. 

Arseneault said an announcement on minimum wage was planned before the holidays, but unforeseen weather forced the government to postpone.

It's now planned for later this month.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the New Brunswick government was putting a promise to increase the minimum wage by 2017 on hold. In fact, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments agreed in April, 2016 to align the date for changes to the minimum wage in both provinces on April 1, 2017.
    Jan 03, 2017 9:47 AM AT