Demonstrators gathered outside the Halifax Central Library on Friday to demand and gather support for a minimum wage increase in Nova Scotia.
About 70 people attended the rally, which lasted from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Marchers went from the downtown library to Tim Hortons on Spring Garden Road, blocking traffic. They asked passersby to sign a petition requesting the province raise its minimum wage.
— Ross Andersen (@MrRossAndersen) January 19, 2018
“People at the bottom of the scale have to put a roof over their head and food on the table for their families, and they can’t do that without a decent minimum wage,” said Wayne Mundle, one of the demonstrators.
At $10.85, Nova Scotia has the lowest minimum wage in the Canada, despite a 15 cent increase last April. Ontario is set to become the first Canadian province to implement a $15 minimum wage next year.
The event was part of the Fight for 15 and Fairness national campaign, which demands a $15 minimum wage, and is in support of Tim Hortons workers in Ontario. It was co-organized by the Halifax-Dartmouth Labour Council, Solidarity Halifax and Workers Action Centre.
Earlier this year, the owners of two Tim Hortons locations in Ontario cut employee benefits and paid breaks, after the minimum wage climbed to $14 per hour on Jan. 1.
“We want Tim Hortons workers in Ontario to know that they are not alone and we stand in solidarity with them,” said Suzanne Macneil, president of the Halifax-Dartmouth Labour Council.
Tim Hortons said in a news release on Jan. 5 that actions by owners “do not reflect our brand, the views of our company or the views of the overwhelming majority of our dedicated and hardworking restaurant owners.”
Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill said a $15 minimum wage will stimulate and push forward Nova Scotia’s economy.
“I find it hurtful and offensive that in Canada, the single lowest minimum wage is here in Nova Scotia,” said Burrill in an interview during the rally.
Along with Halifax, there were 50 rallies held across Canada on Friday, including those in Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary.