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. This means that each province and territory has its own minimum wage. The lowest general minimum wage currently in force is that of Alberta (C$9.95 per hour) and the highest is that of Nunavut (C$11.00 per hour). Some provinces allow lower wages to be paid to liquor servers and other gratuity earners or to inexperienced employees. The Employment Standards Act of British Columbia had up until 2011 allowed employers to pay as little as C$6 per hour to new workers with less than 500 hours of work experience (about three months of full-time employment).[2]

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.

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.

JurisdictionWage (C$/h)Effective dateComments
Alberta[3]9.951 September 2013$9.05 for liquor servers. Any further increases will be set on a yearly basis using the Consumer Price Index as well as average weekly earnings in Alberta.[4][5]
British Columbia[6]10.251 May 2012$9.00 for liquor servers.[7]
Manitoba[6][8]10.451 October 2013Workers involved in construction have a higher starting minimum wage.[9]
New Brunswick[10]10.001 April 2012
Newfoundland and Labrador[6]10.001 July 2010
Northwest Territories[6]10.001 April 2011
Nova Scotia[6]10.301 April 2013$9.80 for inexperienced workers (less than three months employed in the type of work they are hired to do).[11] 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[12]11.001 January 2011Currently the highest in Canada.
Ontario[6]10.2531 March 2010
  • Students (under age 18, working 28 hours or under per week while school is in session or work when there is a school break): $9.60.
  • Liquor servers: $8.90.
  • Homeworkers (includes students and overrides the student wage): $11.28.

The Ontario government's current custom is that, in any year when the minimum wage changes, the change takes effect on 31 March of that year.[13]

Prince Edward Island[14]10.001 April 2012
Québec[15]10.151 May 2013Workers receiving gratuities receive $8.75.
Saskatchewan[16]10.001 December 2012
Yukon[6]10.541 April 2013Yukon currently pegs annual increases every 1 April to its minimum wage using the Consumer Price Index.[17][18]


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.[19] 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.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OECD Statistics (GDP, unemployment, income, population, labour, education, trade, finance, prices...)". Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  2. ^ Queen's Printer of British Columbia (2009-06-01). "Employment Standards Act - Employment Standards Regulation". Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  3. ^ "Alberta's Minimum Wage". 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Alta. minimum wage goes up Sept. 1". CBC News. Jun 1, 2011. Retrieved Jun 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ Henton, Darcy (May 30, 2013). "Alberta’s minimum wage bumped 20 cents to $9.95". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "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. ^,minimum-wage,factsheet.html
  9. ^ Wage Schedule – ICI Construction
  10. ^ "Minimum wage reversal splits opinion - New Brunswick - CBC News". 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Nunavut minimum wage increase effective January 1, 2011". Government of Nunavut. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  13. ^ 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." 
  14. ^ "The Government of Prince Edward Island". Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  15. ^ "Québec porte le taux général du salaire minimum à 10,15 $ l'heure" (in French). CNW Group. 15 Dec 2011. Retrieved 8 Apr 2012. 
  16. ^ "Government news release". 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  17. ^ "CBC News In Depth: Economy". CBC News. 
  18. ^ "Minimum Wage and Minimum Wage Regulation - Department of Community Services- Government of Yukon". 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  19. ^ NDP Calls for National Plan
  20. ^ "Introducing C-448, a Federal Minimum Wage". 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 

External links[edit]