Minimum wage in Canada

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

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$1,811.33 and the highest minimum wage is C$2,253.33. Similarly, the yearly gross income of an individual earning the lowest minimum wage in Canada is C$21,736 and the highest minimum wage is C$27,040.[3]

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 icon.

Jurisdiction Wage (C$/h) Effective date Comments
Federal[4] - 18 December 1996 Canada had a federal minimum wage until 1996, when the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien eliminated it. Federal minimum wage would apply to about one million workers in federally regulated jurisdictions such as transportation, financial services, telecommunications and broadcasting, and other federal employees.[5]
Alberta[4] 12.20 1 October 2016[3]
British Columbia[6] 10.85 15 September 2016 $9.60 for liquor servers.[7][8]
Manitoba[6][9] 11.00 1 October 2015 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).[4]
New Brunswick[10] 10.65 1 April 2016
Newfoundland and Labrador[6] 10.50 1 October 2015 To be increased in April 2017 to $10.75 and again in October 2017 to $11.00.[11]
Northwest Territories[6] 12.50 1 June 2015
Nova Scotia[6] 10.70 1 April 2016 $10.20 for inexperienced workers (less than three months employed in the type of work they are hired to do).[12] On 1 April of each year, this rate is to increase to reflect changes in Statistics Canada’s all-items Consumer Price Index for Canada, for January through November of the previous year.[13]
Nunavut[14] 13.00 1 April 2016
Ontario[6] 11.40 1 October 2016
  • Students (under age 18, working 28 hours or under per week while school is in session or work when there is a school break): $10.70.[15]
  • Liquor servers: $9.90.
  • Homeworkers (includes students and supersedes the student wage): $12.55.

In Ontario, from 2015 on, the minimum wage shall be increased slightly every year. Minimum wage increases shall be announced on 1 April of each year, based on the Consumer Price Index for Ontario, with the change taking into effect on 1 October of that same year.[16]

Prince Edward Island[17] 11.00 1 October 2016
Québec[18][19] 10.75 1 May 2016 Workers receiving gratuities receive $9.20[19]
Saskatchewan[6] 10.72 1 October 2016
Yukon[6] 11.07 1 April 2016 Yukon currently pegs annual increases every 1 April to its minimum wage using the Consumer Price Index for Whitehorse.[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] Other critics, such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, contend that minimum wage laws actually hurt the very people they purport to help by causing unemployment for low skilled workers.[24]

See also


  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. 1 2
  4. 1 2 3 "Current And Forthcoming Minimum Hourly Wage Rates For Young Workers And Specific Occupations". 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Current And Forthcoming Minimum Hourly Wage Rates For Experienced Adult Workers in Canada". Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  7. "Clark increases B.C. minimum wage after decade-long freeze". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  8. "B.C. raising minimum wage today to $10.85". Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  10. "Minimum wage hike may cause layoffs, business group says - New Brunswick - CBC News". 2014-11-17. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  14. "Nunavut minimum wage increase effective January 1, 2011" (PDF). Government of Nunavut. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  16. "Ontario Increasing Minimum Wage: Indexing to CPI Provides Fairness for Workers, Predictability for Business" (Press release). Ontario Ministry of Labour. 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2015-08-07.
  17. "The Government of Prince Edward Island". 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-09-01.
  18. "Wages - CNESST". Not Newspaper. 1 May 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  19. 1 2
  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.
  24. "Ontario government raises the minimum wage…and sends the bill to small business". 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2016-01-13.

External links

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