Minimum wage in Canada

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.[2] This means, for example, that a railway company could not legally pay a worker in British Columbia less than C$11.35 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."[3]

Minimum wage levels by jurisdiction

Assuming a 40-hour workweek and 52 paid weeks a year, the annual gross income of an individual earning the lowest minimum wage in Canada is C$22,796.80 (in Saskatchewan) and the highest minimum wage is C$29,120.00 (in Ontario).[2]

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 Indexation Formula

("CPI" refers to Statistics Canada's Consumer Price Index — All-items)

Alberta[2]13.60 October 1, 2017 To be increased on October 1, 2018 to $15.00
British Columbia[2] 12.65 June 1, 2018

To be increased on June 1, 2019 to $13.85, on June 1, 2020 to $14.60, and on June 1, 2021 to $15.20[6] ($12.70, $13.95 and $15.20 respectively for liquor servers)[7]

Manitoba[2][8]11.15 October 1, 2017
  • Security guards: $12.50
  • Workers in the construction industry (industrial, commercial, institutional, or heavy construction sectors): rates based on occupational classification

To be increased on October 1, 2018 to $11.35

Each October 1, based on Manitoba CPI for the previous calendar year, unless the government decrees a freeze due to economic conditions.[9]
New Brunswick[2]11.25 April 1, 2018
Newfoundland and Labrador[2]11.15 April 1, 2018 Each April 1, based on Canada CPI for the previous calendar year.[10]
Northwest Territories[2]13.46 April 1, 2018
Nova Scotia[2][11]11.00 April 1, 2018
  • Inexperienced workers (less than three months employed in the type of work they are hired to do): $10.50
Each April 1, based on Canada CPI for January through November of the previous calendar year.[12]
Nunavut[2]13.00 April 1, 2016
Ontario[2][13]14.00 January 1, 2018
  • Students (under age 18, working 28 hours or under per week while school is in session or work when there is a school break): $13.15
  • Liquor servers: $12.20
  • Homeworkers (includes students and supersedes the student wage): $15.40

To be increased on January 1, 2019 to $15.00 (above amounts adjusted proportionally); however, the new premier has promised to cancel this increase.[14]

Each October 1 (resuming in 2019), based on Ontario CPI for the previous calendar year.[15]
Prince Edward Island[2]11.55 April 1, 2018
Québec[2][16]12.00 May 1, 2018

The government intends to raise the minimum wage to 50% of the provincial average wage in 2020.[17] An anticipated schedule of increases was announced in 2017.[18] Due to strong wage growth, the 2018 increase was greater than anticipated.

Saskatchewan[2]10.96 October 1, 2017 To be increased on October 1, 2018 to $11.06[19] Each October 1, based on the average of the changes in the Saskatchewan CPI and in the average hourly wage in Saskatchewan as measured by Statistics Canada for the previous year, subject to Cabinet approval.[20]
Yukon[2]11.51 April 1, 2018 Each April 1, based on Whitehorse CPI for the previous calendar year.[21]


Some 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 October 1, 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 Business and the C. D. Howe Institute, contend that minimum wage laws actually hurt the very people they purport to help by forcing employers to raise prices, reduce staff, or close down.[24]

See also


  1. "OECD Statistics". Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 "Current And Forthcoming Minimum Hourly Wage Rates For Experienced Adult Workers in Canada".
  3. Galarneau, Diane; Fecteau, Eric. "The ups and downs of minimum wage". Statistics Canada. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  4. "Clark increases B.C. minimum wage after decade-long freeze". Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  5. "Current And Forthcoming Minimum Hourly Wage Rates For Young Workers And Specific Occupations".
  6. Engagement, Government Communications and Public. "Information for Employers - Province of British Columbia".
  7. Labour. "Raises coming for liquor servers and other alternate minimum wage earners".
  8. "Employment Standards - Employment Standards".
  9. Justice, Manitoba. "Manitoba Laws".
  10. "CNLR 781/96 - Labour Standards Regulations under the Labour Standards Act".
  11. "Minimum Wage : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Employment Rights". April 4, 2005.
  12. "Minimum Wage Order (General) - Labour Standards Code (Nova Scotia)".
  15. "Law Document English View". July 24, 2014.
  16. "Wages - CNESST".
  17. "Quebec to make largest-ever increase to minimum wage". January 17, 2018.
  18., Zone Économie -. "Le salaire minimum au Québec grimpera de 0,50 $ en mai".
  21. "Minimum Wage and Minimum Wage Regulation - Department of Community Services- Government of Yukon". 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  22. "Bill C-375 (Historical) -".
  23. "Bill C-448 (Historical) -".
  24. Marchand, Joseph (September 26, 2017). "Thinking about Minimum Wage Increases in Alberta: Theoretically, Empirically, and Regionally". C. D. Howe Institute. Retrieved September 27, 2017.

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