Government has modified the salary increase proposed by a tribunal determining provincial and family court judges’ salaries and benefits.
The Nova Scotia Provincial Judges’ Salaries and Benefits Tribunal recommended a salary increase of about 9.5 per cent over the next three years, including a 5.4 per cent increase in the first year.
Government does not agree with the recommendation and instead is providing the judges with a salary increase of one per cent in 2019-20 and no increase in the first two years. This is the same wage increase given to Crown attorneys and the funding increase for doctors. It is also the proposed wage increase for public-sector workers.
“The salary increases recommended by the tribunal do not fit our economic situation and taxpayers’ ability to pay,” said Minister of Finance and Treasury Board Randy Delorey. “Instead, we have adopted a fair salary increase for judges that stays within the fiscal plan.
“Government has determined that this modified salary increase is reasonable, sufficient to attract excellent candidates for appointment as judges and respects the independence and critical role of the judiciary in our democracy.”
Judges currently make an annual salary of $236,376, plus benefits. For the last three years starting April 1, 2014, judges’ salaries were increased by 3.8 per cent in the first year and by the consumer price index for Nova Scotia in the final two years, which was 1.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent.
Government has also referred to the tribunal, for review and comment, its intention to freeze the accrual of judges’ public service award effective April 1, 2017.
The Provincial Court Act outlines the process to determine the salaries and benefits for provincial and family court judges. A three-person tribunal that includes representatives of the judges and the government is convened every three years. Once the compensation tribunal files its report, government can confirm, vary or reject its recommendations.