The rising inflation globally has prompted the need for a wage increase and this includes the Canadian minimum wage. Owing to the recent pandemic, the price of groceries, clothing, rent, etc., is on the increase.
This increase in the consumer price index influenced the review of minimum wages by several provinces in Canada. They made an increase in the wage rate to help workers foot their bills easily.
The Canadian minimum wage is $15 per hour on average. Some provinces like British Columbia, Nunavut, and Ontario pay between $15 to $16 per hour, which is higher than the average minimum wage. On the other hand, provinces like Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia pay between $11.95 to $13.60, which is lower than the average. Generally, Canada is rated among the regions that pay a high minimum wage.
In this article, you will learn about the Canadian minimum wage by province and the minimum wage in the region’s federal sector. To start with, what is a minimum wage?
A minimum wage is the benchmark pay rate per hour that any employer can pay a worker. This rate is due to workers whether they work full-time or part-time, and it is also equal for all genders. In Canada, this rate is legislated by each province, which gives rise to non-uniformity in the minimum wages across the country.
The history of the Canadian minimum wage can be traced down to 1918. At this time, it was legislated in British Columbia and Manitoba only. Two years down the line, other provinces such as Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia came on board the minimum wage legislation.
Years later, other provinces joined – the last of which was Prince Edward Island, which came on board about 40 years later.
The need for equity in the payment structure for men, women, and children brought about the minimum wage legislation in the early 20th century in Canada. Before this time, women and children were exploited and not placed on the same pay scale as men, even if they worked the same job.
Today, the legislation and review of the minimum wage are to meet up with the ever-rising inflation rate.
However, inflation rates seem to stay ahead of minimum wage legislation and review. Many provinces in Canada often leave the rates at one point for years without review.
In Ontario, for example, the minimum wage remained static between 2010 and 2014 at $10.25 per hour. The inflation rate, on the other hand, was on a minimal increase during this period.
The Canadian minimum wage in the federal sector as of the time of writing this article is $15.55. This rate is paid to everyone who is working in sectors that are regulated by the Canadian federal government. They include Postal services, Federal crown corporations, Banks, etcetera.
Irrespective of the province you reside, provided you work with one of Canada’s federal sectors, your wage won’t go below $15.55 per hour. However, if the minimum wage of the province is higher than the federal minimum wage, then you get paid a higher rate.
If you work with an industry that is not a part of the Canadian federal sector, then you get paid the provincial minimum wage. This may be higher or lower than the federal minimum wage.
As stated earlier, the Canadian minimum wage differs from one province to another. Below is an insight into the minimum wages of each province in the country.
British Columbia (BC) is located in the westernmost part of the country which extends into the coastline of the Pacific Ocean and mountain ranges. This beautiful province was formerly British up till 1871 but became a part of Canada in 1885.
The minimum wage of British Columbia, as effective on the 1st of June 2022, is $15.65 per hour. This 2.96% increase from the previous year’s $15.20 per hour makes them the second highest-paying province on the chart of Canadian minimum wage.
Aside from being a high-paying province in terms of wage rate, British Columbia also has a high standard of living. The average cost of living monthly in this province is a little shy of $2,300, whereas the lowest monthly income is just about $1,970.
To solve this issue, the British Columbia government hopes to increase this minimum wage further to about $16 per hour in the near future. There are a few workers that earn slightly above or below this rate in BC, and they are highlighted below.
Ontario is the most populous province in Canada, with a population of about 14 million people. They house the country’s capital – Ottawa. The province lies in the east-central part of the country and borders the great lakes and the US. The minimum wage in this province was increased to $15 recently.
The contribution of this province to the country’s GDP is quite high. Therefore, a further increase in the minimum wage, no matter how little, would improve the economy a great deal.
Ontario’s minimum wage is also influenced by the consumer price index like many other Canadian minimum wages. However, there are a few workers that earn slightly higher or lower than this $15 per hour rate in the province. They are as follows:
Quebec is Canada’s french speaking province that was created in the early 17th Century. However, the English language is understood by the vast majority of the province. The Canadian minimum wage for workers in this multilingual province is $14.25 per hour. This rate was legislated in May 2022, which was an increase of 5.56% from the previous rate.
The consumer price index made a jump of 6.7% during the period that the minimum wage was increased. Critics emphasized that this 5.67% increase in the minimum wage was inadequate as the financial situation of workers was not improved by it. Thus, they recommend that the government review the rate.
Workers within Quebec who earn differently from the provincial minimum wage are as follows:
Alberta was founded in 1905 and is located in the western part of Canada. This province is rich in mineral deposits, water resources (about 600 lakes), coniferous forests, rocky mountains, and more. The provincial minimum wage of Alberta was legislated at $15 per hour in 2018.
This Canadian minimum wage in Alberta was the peak in the country at the time. It was a decision of the NDP-led government. Critics claimed that it was not sustainable and businesses may fold up over the inability to keep up with staff payments. The majority of these critics were from the opposition party – UCP.
Four years down the line, the UCP became the ruling party, and the minimum wage remained the same. The people of Alberta do not see the feasibility of any increase in the nearest future.
Some of the exceptions to this wage rate in the province are as follows:
Manitoba is located to the east of Ontario and west of Saskatchewan. It is rich in arable lands, mountains, rivers, and lakes. The Canadian minimum wage of Manitoba is $11.95 per hour, which is the second lowest of all provinces in the country. This rate was an increase of $0.05 from the previous rate.
Despite this low increase in the previous wage rate, some business owners refuse to abide by it. They claim that it might run down their businesses. However, others welcomed this development and recommended that the government raise this rate to $15 per hour.
The exceptions to this minimum wage in Manitoba are salespersons with flat rates and incentives and domestic workers who work less than 12 hours weekly. The latter is not entitled to payments. Others in the construction sector receive varying wage rates depending on the company that they work for.
Canada is home to beautiful provinces – all of which legislate their minimum wage Individually. In all provinces of this country, there are workers whose wages are different from that of the provincial minimum rate.
So, if you are all set up to work in this country, do research on the Canadian minimum wage of your desired province before accepting the job.
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The minimum wage in British Columbia in June 2022 is $15.65 per hour. This rate is the highest in Canada and above that of the federal minimum wage. However, workers like bartenders, live-in home support, and resident caretakers earn above this per-hour rate.
The minimum wage in Ontario in mid-2022 is $15 per hour. This rate was slightly below that of the federal rate. Students who are below the age of 18 but work 38 hours Weekly earn $14.10 hourly, while homeworkers earn $16.50 hourly.
The minimum wage in Quebec in May 2022 is $14.25 per hour. This is quite low despite the 5.56 increase from the previous year. Others who earn more than this minimum are those who receive tips at workplaces.
The minimum wage in Alberta in 2018 is $15. Other workers who earn differently from this minimum are salespersons, live-in domestic workers, and under-18 Students who work 28 hours with.
The minimum wage in Manitoba in 2021 is $11.95 per hour. This rate is the lowest of Canadian minimum wages and is not received by everyone. Domestic workers with less than 12 hours of working period per week do not get paid.
The minimum wage in Nunavut is $16 per hour. This province top the list of high provincial minimum wage in Camada. However, the cost of living in this region is high.
Yukon has a minimum wage of $15.70 in April 2022. It was $13.71 in 2020 and $13.85 in 2021. This consistency in the increase of the minimum wage since 2020 was influenced by the consumer price index.
Saskatchewan has a Canadian minimum wage of $11.81 per hour. The wage rate in this province is influenced by the consumer price index. Thus, an average increase of about $0.10 is affected annually. It was $11.32 in 2019 and $11.06 in 2018.
Brunswick has a Canadian minimum wage of $12.75 per hour. This rate is speculated to jump by one dollar to about $13.75 per hour in October 2022.
Newfoundland and Labrador have a Canadian minimum wage of $13.20 per hour. That of the previous year in this province was $12.75 per hour. Some workers earn above this rate by working overtime.