N.S. premier hopes for a common Atlantic minimum wage as early as next spring

Nova Scotia's premier says he hopes the Atlantic provinces can land on a common minimum wage as early as next spring, but he maintains the goal will not be $15 an hour.

Stephen McNeil says talks are continuing with his fellow Atlantic premiers, and they will also have to find a mechanism to help a common minimum wage keep pace with inflation.

Nova Scotia's NDP is calling for a $15 minimum wage, like the one announced by Ontario's Liberal government, and has introduced a bill that would see the rate gradually implemented over a three-year period.

But McNeil says he believes that would mean fewer hours for workers. 

He says the province can do more to help lower-income earners through such measures as tax cuts and universal pre-primary.

The premier says a common minimum wage would have the greatest impact in Nova Scotia, which has the region's lowest.

A 15-cent increase on Sunday brought the rate to $11 per hour.

Newfoundland and Labrador's minimum wage also went up by 15 cents on Sunday to $11.15, while New Brunswick's wage went up by a quarter to $11.25.

Prince Edward Island's minimum wage remains the highest in Atlantic Canada, increasing by 30 cents to $11.55 per hour.