Minimum wage in New Brunswick now lowest in Canada
Increases in 5 provinces leave New Brunswick at the bottom of list with wage of $10.30 an hour
New Brunswick now has the lowest minimum wage in the country at $10.30 an hour.
Increases to the minimum wage in five provinces — Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador relegated New Brunswick to the bottom of the list.
Moncton café worker Ghislaine LeBlanc has a friend who earns minimum wage and finds it tough to make ends meet.
"And I see her struggling financially in the sense that to pay rent by herself, not shared by anyone, and her food and all of the above, she's struggling."
Carol O'Reilly of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce said many of her members were in favour of an increase a year ago.
"We did a survey with our members, about a year ago, and over 80 per cent were in agreement of raising the minimum wage," said O'Reilly.
The New Brunswick government raised the minimum wage to $10.30 on Dec. 31, 2014.
O'Reilly said larger businesses have serious concerns about an increase.
"If you've got 100 employees and it's all gone up $1 or $2 an hour or more, that has a burden on these businesses."
When asked about the minimum wage level Monday, several people in downtown Moncton felt it should increase to about $12 or $13 an hour.
However, Allison Smith felt it might not be the right time to follow the lead of provinces that are increasing the minimum wage.
"I don't think it's fully, maybe necessarily, the right time to do that right at the moment," she said. "We would all love to pay our employees as much … more, yes.
"But at the same time we still need to make sure the business can be here on a day-to-day basis and be open."
The Northwest Territories has the highest minimum wage at $12.50 an hour, while British Columbia's $10.45 is second-lowest.
New Brunswick has promised to increase the minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017.