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NDP want to ban tip theft in N.S. bars and restaurants

By Steve MacArthur Oct 26, 2023 | 9:34 AM

Some proposed legislation would protect bartenders and cooks from have their tips snatched away by their employer.

Nova Scotia is the only province in Atlantic Canada without legislation that protects service industry workers against employers taking all or part of tips from customers.

“Most workers in the service industry, such as servers, bartenders, and cooks, make below a living wage and rely on tips to make ends meet,” said Claudia Chender. “Most people, when they leave a tip assume it’s going to the person who served them or the team of staff who made them their meal. Many other provinces have protections like this for servers, Nova Scotia should do the same.”

The party introduced legislation on Wednesday to ensure those workers get all of their tips or using them as wages.

However, a Halifax advocacy group for low-wage earners has been campaigning for this change for a long time.

“Without legislation, it effectively makes it legal for bosses to steal workers’ tips and means that there is no guarantee tips from customers go to workers,” said Halifax Workers Action Centre (WAC) organizer Sydnee Blum.

A recent WAC survey found that 73% of respondents had some experience with tip theft – whether they were currently having their tips stolen, previously worked somewhere where tips were stolen, or knew someone who was experiencing tip theft.

“Surprisingly 100 per cent of survey respondents, people across the political aisle, were in support of banning tip-theft. Unfortunately, with current legislation workers have no way of retaliating against this unfair practice,” explained Blum.

In order for the legislation to move forward, it would need support from the governing PC’s.