Economy

GNWT further extending wage top-up for low-income workers


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. 

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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.

Kevin O’Reilly, MLA for Frame Lake, in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

“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.

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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.

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