Nova Scotia Minimum Wage 2021

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Nova Scotia Minimum Wage 2021

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood

Nova Scotia Minimum Wage 2021

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Income Minimum Wage Nova Scotia

If you work in Nova Scotia, you are entitled to receive a minimum wage rate, with certain exceptions. That means your employer cannot pay you any less than a certain hourly rate in the province.  

Every province and territory in Canada has its own minimum wage amount, which is typically adjusted once a year to reflect the increase in cost of living. Minimum wage ensures that workers are able to cover the cost of basic necessities of life, including food and shelter, and help curb poverty among Canadians. 

Let’s dig deeper into the minimum wage rate in Nova Scotia and any exceptions that may exist. 

Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Rate

As of April 2021, the minimum wage rate in Nova Scotia is $12.95 per hour. That’s an increase from the previous $12.55 from 2020. The minimum wage rate in Nova Scotia typically increases on April 1st of every year and is communicated to the public in January of that same year.

The standard workweek in Nova Scotia is 48 hours. Minimum wage rates are applicable to workweeks that are no longer than 48 hours. That said, certain jobs may have different minimum wage rates applied to them.

Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Across The Years 

The minimum wage rate in Nova Scotia has increased over the years, as shown in the chart below:

DateMinimum Wage Rate
April 1, 2021$12.95
April 1, 2020$11.55
April 1, 2019$11.00
April 1, 2018$10.85
April 1, 2017$10.70

Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Exceptions

Although there is a general minimum wage rate applicable to workers in the province, there are certain exceptions when it comes to the exact rate paid out. The minimum wage in Nova Scotia is not applicable to workers in the following areas of work:

  • Real estate 
  • Car salespeople
  • Insurance agents
  • Those who work on a fishing boat
  • Employees at a summer camp or non-profit playground 
  • Certain farm workers
  • Apprentices
  • Certain domestic workers

Generally speaking, there are 3 wage orders, as follows:

  • Minimum Wage Order (General)
  • Minimum Wage Order (Construction and Property Maintenance)
  • Minimum Wage Order (Logging and Forest Operations)

Depending on the one you fall under, the rules surrounding minimum wage will vary. At this time, the minimum wage rate for all 3 is $12.95. But the rate could be different among these wage orders in other years.

Piecework 

Piecework is a type of employment setup in which the worker is paid by their production rather than by the hour. Payouts are based on fixed rates for each unit produced or by each action carried out, no matter how much time such activities take to complete. 

According to the Minimum Wage Order (General), employers cannot pay employees less for piecework than that worker would have earned at the minimum wage rate for the number of hours worked. However, this rule is not applicable to employees who work on a farm whose work is related directly to growing fruit, vegetables, and tobacco.

Learn more about the differences between a contractor and a payroll employee.

Minimum Wage Deductions In Nova Scotia

Employers cannot deduct certain items from an employee’s wage if it will lower the wage rate to below the minimum wage. This includes things such as uniform costs. However, the cost of dry cleaning a uniform that is made of wool or other heavy material may be deducted even if it results in the worker’s wages dip below the minimum rate.

There are certain costs that employers may deduct from employees’ wages, including board and lodging as follows:

  • $68.20 per week for boarding and lodging 
  • $55.55 per week for boarding only 
  • $15.45 per week for lodging only 
  • $3.65 for each meal

Is your income not enough to cover your needs? Find out if you qualify for the Canada Workers Benefit.

How Much Do Minimum Wage Workers Get For Overtime?

As mentioned earlier, the standard workweek within a consistent 7-day period in Nova Scotia is 48 hours. Any time worked in excess of 48 hours in one week is considered overtime and is paid at 1.5 times the regular wage rate. 

Overtime rates may not be applicable to certain industries that involve irregular working hours and conditions. Further, certain groups of workers have different rules that cover overtime, called “wage orders,” as mentioned above. The overtime paid out in each group is as follows: 

  • Minimum Wage Order (General). Employees within this group are paid overtime at a rate of 1.5 times the minimum wage after 48 hours worked in one week.
  • Minimum Wage Order (Construction and Property Maintenance). Employees within this group are paid overtime at a rate of 1.5 times the minimum wage after 110 hours worked in a 2-week period.

Overtime pay may also apply to certain salaried workers, which is calculated by dividing the employee’s salary (per week) by the regular hours worked each week to arrive at the hourly rate. This should be a relatively accurate representation of a typical work week. Overtime can then be calculated by multiplying the hourly rate by the number of overtime hours worked (over and above the 48 hours in the workweek).

Certain types of employees do not get paid overtime pay, including the same employees listed under “minimum wage rate exceptions” above, such as real estate agents and some farm workers.

Are you looking for a job? Try using the Canadian Job Bank.

FAQs About Minimum Wage in Nova Scotia

How many hours do you need to work to be paid overtime in Nova Scotia?

In general, you need to work over 48 hours in a workweek to earn overtime pay. If you work in certain types of construction, you will be paid overtime after 110 hours worked within a 2-week time span. 

Does Nova Scotia have the highest minimum wage in Canada?

No. The highest minimum wage is in Nunavut with a minimum wage rate of $16.00 per hour. The lowest minimum wage is in Saskatchewan with a minimum wage rate of $11.45 per hour. Nova Scotia falls somewhere near the lower end of the spectrum with a minimum wage rate of $12.95 per hour. 

If my shift is cancelled early, do I get paid for my full shift? 

If your regular shift is longer than 3 hours and it gets cancelled, you must be paid a minimum of 3 hours of work. If you’re called into work for a shift in which 3 hours isn’t required to work, you must either be permitted to work the full 3 hours or be paid for the un-worked portion at the minimum wage rate or overtime rate.

Final Thoughts

Minimum wage is established to help ensure that workers are able to pay for food, shelter, and other basic necessities. If you work in Nova Scotia, you’re entitled to be paid a minimum of $12.95 per hour, with certain exceptions.


Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Lisa has been working as a writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers. She specializes in personal finance, mortgages, and real estate. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience in real estate and personal finance with others. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys trying funky new recipes, spending time with her dog, and of course, revelling in the joy of family.

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