What is Canada's minimum hourly?

Understanding the minimum hourly wage in Canada is crucial for both employers and employees. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the necessary information about Canada's minimum hourly wage, including its definition, historical background, current rates, factors affecting it, and its impact on workers.

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What is Minimum Hourly Wage?

Minimum hourly wage refers to the lowest amount of money an employer is legally required to pay an employee for each hour of work. It sets a standard to ensure workers receive fair compensation for their time and effort.

History of Minimum Hourly Wage in Canada

The concept of minimum wage in Canada dates back to the early 20th century. The first provincial minimum wage legislation was introduced in Manitoba in 1918. Since then, all provinces and territories have implemented their own minimum wage laws, leading to variations in rates across the country.

Current Minimum Hourly Wage in Canada

The current minimum hourly wage in Canada varies depending on the province or territory. As of 2021, the overall range of minimum hourly wages across the country is between $11.45 and $16.00. These rates are periodically reviewed and adjusted to keep up with economic factors and the cost of living.

Factors Affecting Minimum Hourly Wage

Several factors influence the determination of minimum hourly wage in Canada. These include the cost of living, inflation rates, economic conditions, industry standards, collective bargaining agreements, and government policies.

Minimum Hourly Wage by Province/Territory

The minimum hourly wage in Canada varies by province and territory. Here is an overview of the current rates:

  • Alberta: $15.00
  • British Columbia: $15.20
  • Manitoba: $11.90
  • New Brunswick: $11.75
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $12.50
  • Northwest Territories: $13.46
  • Nova Scotia: $12.95
  • Nunavut: $16.00
  • Ontario: $14.25
  • Prince Edward Island: $13.00
  • Quebec: $13.50
  • Saskatchewan: $11.45
  • Yukon: $13.85

Benefits and Criticisms of Minimum Hourly Wage

The minimum hourly wage has both proponents and critics. Supporters argue that it helps alleviate poverty, reduces income inequality, and stimulates economic growth. Critics, on the other hand, claim that it may lead to job losses, increased costs for businesses, and hinder economic competitiveness.

Impact of Minimum Hourly Wage on Workers

For workers, the minimum hourly wage can significantly impact their standard of living. It ensures that individuals receive a fair wage for their work and can afford basic necessities. However, some argue that the minimum wage may not be sufficient in high-cost areas, leading to challenges in meeting living expenses.


Understanding Canada's minimum hourly wage is crucial in ensuring fair compensation for workers and maintaining social and economic balance. By staying informed about the current rates, factors influencing it, and its impact on workers, both employers and employees can contribute to a fair and equitable labor market.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the purpose of minimum hourly wage?

The purpose of minimum hourly wage is to establish a baseline for fair compensation and protect workers from exploitative labor practices.

Q2: How often does the minimum hourly wage change?

The minimum hourly wage is typically reviewed and adjusted annually or semi-annually by provincial and territorial governments.

Q3: Are there any exceptions to the minimum hourly wage?

Yes, there may be exceptions to the minimum hourly wage for certain categories of workers, such as students, apprentices, and liquor servers. These exceptions vary by province and territory.

Q4: How does minimum hourly wage compare to living wage?

The minimum hourly wage is the legal requirement set by the government, while the living wage is an estimate of the income needed for a person or family to meet basic needs. The living wage is often higher than the minimum wage to account for the cost of living in a specific area.

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