NDP leader calls wage gap between rich and poor in NS a 'moral crisis'

Haley Ryan jacob.boon@tc.tc
Published on January 4, 2017

Gary Burrill

©Jeff Harper/Metro

The growing wage gap between CEO’s earning millions each year and Nova Scotians is a “moral crisis” that could be helped with a higher minimum wage, says one opposition leader.

Citing a report released Tuesday on the 100 highest-paid CEOs in Canada, NDP Leader Gary Burrill said it’s “unacceptable” the CEO of Emera collects $4.3 million annually while areas in industrial Cape Breton have a child poverty rate of 43 per cent.

“What normal, moral, sensible person could do anything when look at that but say ‘something here is awfully wrong,’” Burrill said.

hrowing Money at the Problem: 10 Years of Executive Compensation, released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, found the average income of the top CEOs in Canada was $9.5 million. The average income for Canadians is $49,510.

Burrill said there’s “a lot” the province can do to make life easier for people, starting with raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour which would benefit more than 130,000 residents.

Increasing social assistance so families wouldn’t have to rely on foodbanks is another step the province could take that would cost about $18 million, Burrill said, not far from the $22 million the province gave RBC in payroll rebates.

Directing funds away from private companies and towards raising social assistance and the minimum wage could make a “dramatic dent” in financial suffering, Burrill said.

"We have the capacity to do something about it. We know what to do," he said.

“We’re committed … towards a $15 minimum wage in order to address this exact moral crisis."