Minimum Wage Across Canada

Minimum wage is the absolute lowest amount per hour an employer can pay an employee for their services. Within Canada you have a right to be paid this minimum wage and applicable legislation exists in every province and territory as part of employment standards legislation. A fresh discussion on minimum wage has been reopened due to a large change in Ontario’s laws. “The Ontario government has announced plans to raise its minimum wage to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and to $15 an hour the following year, (source).” Every year each province and territory reviews its existing rate. The political party in power makes the decision on whether to provide an increase or not. There are numerous external factors that affect this choice such as inflation, unemployment and developments in other jurisdictions. “By late 2017 the average minimum wage in Canada will be about $11.43 per hour. That compares to $9.25 in 2010, an increase of over 23%, (source).”

Who Earns What Where:

Alberta - $12.20. That will be rising to $13.60 this year and reaching $15 an hour on Oct. 1, 2018.

British Columbia - $10.85, with an expectation of rising to at least $11.25 within this year.

Manitoba - $11. The government expects to raise it every year along with the rate of inflation.

New Brunswick - $11. Adjusted annually relative to the consumer price index.

Newfoundland & Labrador - $10.75 rising to $11 on Oct. 1, 2017.

Northwest Territories - $12.50.

Nova Scotia - $10.85, which is adjusted annually on April 1 based on the consumer price index.

Nunavut - $13.

Ontario - $11.40.

Prince Edward Island - $11.25.

Quebec - $10.75, rising to $11.25 per hour May 1.

Saskatchewan - $10.72, this number is adjusted annually every Oct. 1. It is relative to the consumer price index and average hourly wage.

Yukon - $11.32, which is adjusted annually April 1 based on the consumer price index.


Overall across Canada there were some “1.25 million people earning minimum wage, or about 8 per cent of the country’s 15.3 million salaried employees, with nearly 60 per cent of minimum wage earners are youths aged 15 to 24, and almost as large a share of them lives with family (source).” Women are still disproportionately represented in lower wage occupations. Below is the breakdown of specific statistics from a 2013 survey (source) :

 Men – (5.5%) vs Women (8%)

Age group – 15-19 (50.2%)

Education – Less than high school diploma (20.4%) vs. University degree (2.6%)

Full time (3.4%) vs. Part time (21.8%)

Top sectors – Retail (17.4%) and Food & Accommodation (26.9%)

Overall minimum wages are increasing across the country, which is positive for a variety of people from different walks of life. A great reminder is to keep in mind the cost of living as this aspect is seldom factored into these minimum wage earnings.  Minimum wage can greatly impact small to medium size business owners, as these individuals are dependent on a small set of employees to run their companies. More questions about minimum wage in B.C and how the changes coming this year could affect your business? Contact me at


Melissa Rowbottom