Imagine you are working hard and sometimes even do overtime to earn more. But when you get your paycheck, you feel like your effort was not even worth it as what you earned is not even sufficient to give you a bare minimum lifestyle. You may think it’s not possible now, but it was possible until 1918 when the legislation of minimum wage in Canada was not introduced.
In 1918, Manitoba and British Columbia implied the first-ever minimum wages, and in 1920 other provinces including Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia too joined the league. Though it is fascinating that in those early days, it was applicable to women and special kinds of employment only. Also, it took more than 40 years for the rest of the provinces and territories to impose the minimum wage legislation.
What is the Minimum Wage?
In Canada until 1996, the federal government used to decide the policies for minimum wage, but afterward, it was reconstituted and the right to apply minimum wage was given to the 10 provinces and 3 territories.
As per the law, the minimum wage is the labour standard that ensures that an employer pays his/her employees with at least a certain minimum amount of money decided by the jurisdiction. It helps in protecting non-unionized labourers or people in unskilled work. The minimum wage changes frequently in relation to inflation and the cost of living.
The hourly minimum wage in Canada ranges from $11.45 in Saskatchewan to $16 in Nunavut. The below chart will give you a quick overview of various wage rates in different provinces of Canada.
Minimum Wage in Canada by Provinces
Ontario is the most populous and major province of Canada. The minimum wage rate here is $14.25 per hour which increased on October 1, 2021.
Like many other provinces, Ontario also has different minimum wages for certain types of workers. If a student under the age of 18 works 28 hours per week or less than that, he/she is entitled to have $13.40 for an hour.
Liquor server is entitled to an hourly minimum wage rate of $12.45, and for home workers, it stands for $15.70 an hour.
The minimum wage in Alberta is $15 for an hour. The weekly minimum wage is $598. It applies to most of the categories of workers with a few exceptions.
If a student below the age of 18 works 28 hours or less in a week, the minimum pay is $13 for an hour. Domestic employees living on the employer’s premises earn $2848 monthly as minimum pay.
Also, if an employer is providing the stay and meal facilities, he/she can cut $4.41 and $3.35 respectively; the wage rate reducing below the bare minimum is expected. Though, deductions for the meal can only be applied if an employee has consumed the meal and the same has been stated in written beforehand to the employee.
3. British Columbia
The minimum wage in British Columbia is $14.60 per hour, but from June 2021, it increased to $15.20 per hour. It applies to most of the categories of workers with a few exceptions.
For a liquor server, the minimum wage for an hour is $13.95, tips and other bonuses are not included in it. Whereas, for live-in home support, the minimum wage is $113.50 for a day or part day.
For residential caretakers, the rate is decided on the basis of the total number of suits or rooms in a building. For live-in camp leaders, the minimum rate is $116.86 per day, which would be hiked to $121.65 for a day from June this year.
In Manitoba, the minimum wage rate is $11.90 per hour, which changed on October 1, 2021.
For heavy construction-based industry, there are in total 10 classifications and the minimum pay rate varies from $12.75 to $25.25. Also, the minimum wage does not apply to workers that work less than 12 hours a week.
If an employer provides meal and stays facilities, he/she can not deduct more than $1 for a meal and $7 per week for the stay in a pay period.
5. New Brunswick
The minimum wage in New Brunswick is $11.70 per hour and is adjusted on April 1 every year relative to the CPI (Consumer Price Index).
Unlike other provinces, no deductions are allowed for providing meal and lodging facilities by employers. Also, for workers in the crown building, minimum wage rates differ.
Program staff and counsellors for residential summer camps are entitled to a minimum weekly wage of $501.60 and $440 for the period April 1 2021 to March 21, 2022.
6. Newfoundland & Labrador
At present, the minimum wage rate in Newfoundland & Labrador is $12.15 per hour and will be raised to $12.50 per hour on April 1, 2021, relative to the CPI and then again by $0.25 on October 1, 2021. It made it $12.65 per hour.
Farm employees working on planting, cultivating, or harvesting the crops are excluded from overtime pay. It also includes workers taking care of livestock.
It allows live-in housekeepers and babysitters that work more than 40 hours per week to have paid time off.
7. Nova Scotia
In Nova Scotia, the minimum pay rate is $12.55 per hour and increases to $12.95 on April 1, 2021, with regard to the CPI data.
The minimum wage rate standards do not apply to car salespersons, real estate employees, insurance agents, employees of a non-profit playground or camp, apprentices, and specific domestic employees.
Though if an employer provides meal, boarding, or lodging facilities, rates can be deducted as follows.
- Boarding and lodging for a week: $68.20
- Lodging for a week: $15.45
- Board for a week: $55.55
- For meals: $3.65 for one meal
The minimum wage in Nunavut is the highest minimum wage in Canada accounting for $16 per hour and is reviewed on April 1 every year, but the increases are not done annually.
Minimum wage or labour standards don’t apply to individuals or trappers in commercial fisheries. Also, if an employee is given a meal or stays facility, per meal $0.65 and per day $0.80 can be dedicated respectively.
9. Prince Edward Island
The minimum rate of wage for Prince Edward Island is $12.85 per hour and increased to $13 for an hour on April 1, 2021.
If an employer provides meals and board/lounge facilities, the following deductions are allowed from the wages.
- Boarding for a week: $49.50
- Loading for a week: $27.50
- Boarding and Lodging for a week: $61.60
- For meals: $4.13 for one meal
In Quebec, the minimum wage for an hour is $13.10, which hiked to $13.50 on May 1, 2021.
If an employee receives tips, he/she gets the minimum wage of $10.45 for an hour. Strawberry and raspberry pickers get $1.04 and $3.89 for each kilogram respectively.
There are also some workers on which labour standards are not applied which include employees of the Canadian Armed Forces, self-employed individuals, prisoners, students in social/community/non-profit organizations.
Saskatchewan has the lowest minimum wage in Canada at $11.45 per hour, but it got revised on October 1, 2021.
In Saskatchewan, come-in care providers are not included in minimum wage standards. For live-in caregivers and domestic employees, it is mandatory to give them the pay of minimum wage at least for the initial 8 hours.
For the accommodation and boarding facilities, a minimum deduction of $250 is allowed per month.
In Yukon, $13.71 per hour is the minimum wage rate, which revised on April 1, 2021, relative to CPI.
In Yukon, a fair wage schedule decides the minimum wage for different categories of workers.
13. The Northwest Territories
The minimum wage in the Northwest Territories is $13.46 per hour and there are no mandatory yearly revisions in place.
Employees are paid overtime if they work for more than 8 hours in a day and 40 hours in a week; the rate is 1.5 times their hourly rate. N.W.T’s employment standards are not implied on students working under their study programs.
An employer can deduct for meals and stay up to $0.65 for each meal and $0.80 a day for stay.
If you want to know more about minimum wage in Canada, visit the Retail Council of Canada.
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