Minimum wage in Canada

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Minimum wage levels in developed economies as a share of median full-time wage. The relative minimum wage ratio in Canada is shown in black.[1]

Under the Canadian Constitution, the responsibility for enacting and enforcing labour laws, including the minimum wage, rests with the ten provinces as well as the three territories which have been granted this power by federal legislation. Some provinces allow lower wages to be paid to liquor servers and other gratuity earners or to inexperienced employees.

The federal government in past years set its own minimum wage rates for workers in federal jurisdiction industries (railways for example). In 1996, however, the federal minimum wage was re-defined to be the general adult minimum wage rate of the province or territory where the work is performed. This means, for example, that a railway company could not legally pay a worker in British Columbia less than C$10.25 per hour regardless of the worker's experience.


In 2013, 39.8% of minimum wage workers were between the ages of 15 and 19; in 1997, it was 36%. 50.2% of workers in this age group were paid minimum wage in 2013, an increase from 31.5% in 1997. Statistics Canada notes that "youth, women and persons with a low level of education were the groups most likely to be paid at minimum wage."[2]

Minimum wage levels by jurisdiction[edit]

Assuming a 40-hour workweek and 52 weeks worked a year, the gross monthly income of an individual earning the lowest minimum wage in Canada is C$1,725 and the highest minimum wage is C$1,907. Similarly, the yearly gross income of an individual earning the lowest minimum wage in Canada is C$20,696 and the highest minimum wage is C$22,880.

The following table lists the hourly minimum wages for adult workers in each province and territory of Canada. The provinces which have their minimum wages in bold allow for lower wages under circumstances which are described under the "Comments" heading.

Note: The following table can be sorted by Jurisdiction, Wage, or Effective date using the Sort both.gif icon.

Jurisdiction Wage (C$/h) Effective date Comments
Alberta[3] 10.20 1 September 2014 $9.20 for liquor servers.
British Columbia[4] 10.25 1 May 2012 $9.00 for liquor servers.[5]

Minimum wage will increase to $10.45 ($9.20 for liquor servers) on 15 September 2015, and then pegged to the Consumer Price Index.[6]

Manitoba[4][7] 10.70 1 October 2014 For workers in the industrial, commercial, institutional, or heavy construction industry, rates are based on occupational classification. ($30.25 for a boilermaker journeyperson, $32.90 for a bricklayer journeyperson, and $20.90 for a mobile crane operator).[3]
New Brunswick[8] 10.30 31 December 2014
Newfoundland and Labrador[4] 10.25 1 October 2014
Northwest Territories[4] 10.00 1 April 2011
Nova Scotia[4] 10.40 1 April 2014 $9.90 for inexperienced workers (less than three months employed in the type of work they are hired to do).[9] On 1 April of each year, this rate is to increase to reflect changes in Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut-Off figures for the previous year.
Nunavut[10] 11.00 1 January 2011
Ontario[4] 11.25 1 October 2015
  • Students (under age 18, working 28 hours or under per week while school is in session or work when there is a school break): $10.30.[11]
  • Liquor servers: $9.55.
  • Homeworkers (includes students and supersedes the student wage): $12.10.

The Ontario government's former custom was that, in any year when the minimum wage changes, the change would take effect on 31 March of that year.[12] However, the government decided to make the 2014 minimum wage increase effective on 1 June instead.[13] Additional minimum wage increases would be announced on 1 April of each year, based on the Consumer Price Index, with the change taking into effect on 1 October of that same year (legislation pending).[14]

Prince Edward Island[15] 10.20 1 June 2014
Québec[16][17] 10.35 1 May 2014 Minimum wage will rise to 10.55 on 1 May 2015. Workers receiving gratuities receive $8.90.[18]
Saskatchewan[19] 10.20 March 2014
Yukon[4] 10.72 1 April 2014 Yukon currently pegs annual increases every 1 April to its minimum wage using the Consumer Price Index.[20][21]


Critics of the current minimum wage levels in Canada argue that they are insufficient and advocate that the minimum wage is increased to what they consider a living wage. The New Democratic Party in 2007 called for a separate federal minimum wage of C$10 per hour, however, such a change could not be enforced on any employer operating under provincial jurisdiction, unless the province voluntarily agreed to harmonize its own minimum wage with the federal government.[22] On 1 October 2009, M.P. Irene Mathyssen introduced a private member's bill (C-448) to amend the Canada Labour Code with regard to the minimum wage and have the federal minimum wage set to C$12 per hour.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OECD Statistics (GDP, unemployment, income, population, labour, education, trade, finance, prices...)". Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  2. ^ Galarneau, Diane; Fecteau, Eric. "The ups and downs of minimum wage". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Current And Forthcoming Minimum Hourly Wage Rates For Young Workers And Specific Occupations". 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2014-08-29. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Current And Forthcoming Minimum Hourly Wage Rates For Experienced Adult Workers in Canada". Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  5. ^ "Clark increases B.C. minimum wage after decade-long freeze". Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  6. ^ "B.C.’s minimum wage to go up to $10.45 an hour in September". Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  7. ^,minimum-wage,factsheet.html
  8. ^ "Minimum wage hike may cause layoffs, business group says - New Brunswick - CBC News". 2014-11-17. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Nunavut minimum wage increase effective January 1, 2011". Government of Nunavut. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Shields, Simon (Jan 2008). "Chapter 3 - Wages, Holidays and Vacations". Legal Guide: Employment Law (Ontario). Section 2(c). Retrieved 2012-03-19. It is the practice of the province to regularly re-determine minimum wage rates effective on 31 March (previously 01 February) of each year. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Province Raising Minimum Wage To $11/hour
  15. ^ "The Government of Prince Edward Island". 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  16. ^ "Quebec minimum wage rises to $10.35". Montreal Gazette. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Government news release". 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  20. ^ "CBC News In Depth: Economy". CBC News. 
  21. ^ "Minimum Wage and Minimum Wage Regulation - Department of Community Services- Government of Yukon". 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  22. ^ NDP Calls for National Plan
  23. ^ "Introducing C-448, a Federal Minimum Wage". 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 

External links[edit]