NWT government extends wage top-up for low-income workers
The Northwest Territories government will extend its wage top-up program for at least an additional eight weeks.
Since April 1, the program has topped up low-wage workers’ pay to $18 per hour. Ordinarily, the territory’s minimum wage is $13.46.
Businesses have to apply for the temporary funding and are tasked with helping deliver the program for employees over the age of 15.
In a news release on Tuesday, finance minister Caroline Wawzonek said she wants to see more businesses take advantage of the program.
“I encourage all of those employers with applicable employees who have not yet taken the steps to apply for this financial boost to do so,” she said.
As of July 21, 50 businesses had signed up for the program with 933 workers receiving an average monthly top-up of $237. To date, the program has cost a total of $422,245, the territory said.
Money for the program comes from a $4.74-million federal assistance fund designed to help low-wage workers and keep the territory’s economy going during the pandemic.
The wage top-up is one of several programs that Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green recently called on the government to extend.
The eight-week extension matches the federal government’s extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit until October 3. That program gives financial support to Canadians who have been unable to work due to Covid-19.