The Northwest Territories government is extending its wage top-up program for low-income workers until February 28.
The territory introduced the program, which tops up workers’ pay to $18 per hour, on April 1. Currently, the territory’s ordinary hourly minimum wage is $13.46.
Businesses have to apply for the funding and are tasked with delivering the program for their employees.
Finance minister Caroline Wawzonek said employees whose employers have not enrolled in the program can also contact the Department of Finance and provide a pay stub to get the wage top-up.
Kevin O’Reilly, MLA for Frame Lake, said he’d like the government to permanently increase the territorial minimum wage to $18 per year.
“The wage top-up program really is a clear sign that our minimum wage is way too low,” he said. “We have also got evidence about a living wage, conducted by an NGO, that says it needs to be a lot higher.”
A government committee is currently tasked with reviewing the minimum wage.
Wawzonek noted the top-up program was created after the federal government said low-wage earners were at risk of leaving the workforce.
“This program was really designed to ensure that folks who were often in front-line positions, such as the grocery stores, stayed employed,” she said.
“It was really targeting a very specific concern that arose in the course of Covid-19.”
Businesses interested in the wage top-up program can contact (867) 445-8047 or NWTwagetopup@gov.nt.ca.