Nova Scotia issues verdict on judges' salaries, vetoes 9.5% pay hike
Finance Minister Randy Delorey says the proposed increase was not within the province's means
The Nova Scotia government is overruling a proposed pay increase for provincial and family court judges.
An independent tribunal recommended judges receive a total hike of 9.5 per cent over a three-year contract, beginning with 5.4 per cent in the first year.
Instead, the government is imposing a settlement which provides for no pay increases in the first two years and just one per cent in the third.
"The salary increases recommended by the tribunal do not fit our economic situation and taxpayers' ability to pay," Finance Minister Randy Delorey said in a news release.
"Instead, we have adopted a fair salary increase for judges that stays within the fiscal plan."
Pay hike similar to other offers
The government said the salary increase mirrors settlements given to Crown attorneys and doctors. The release noted it's the same offer being made to public-sector workers.
Delorey argued the settlement is sufficient to attract excellent candidates to be judges and maintains judicial independence.
The McNeil government changed the rules last spring to give it the final say over judges' salaries. Prior to that, the independent tribunal's proposals were binding.
At the time, the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Bar Association opposed the change, saying it appeared to infringe on judicial independence.
Judges currently make $236,376 plus benefits. Their last three-year contract, which was set by the tribunal, had salary increases totaling 5.9 per cent.