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What is the minimum wage in Canada?

The minimum wage in Canada is a basic labor standard that sets the lowest rate an employer is required to pay to employees. Every province and territory has a minimum wage rate determined by the employment standards legislation of the province or territory in question. According to the federal jurisdiction, all workers covered by Part 3 of the Canada Labor Code are entitled to the general adult minimum wage rate of the province or territory they are employed in [2]. Click here to learn how the US minimum wage legislation differs from the minimum wage in Canada.

What is the minimum wage by province?

The Minimum Wage in Canada Database provides general information on current and upcoming minimum wage rates by province for adult workers, young workers and workers with specific occupations. Adjustments to the minimum wage in Canada are required to make up for the changes in the economic and social conditions [2]. That’s why some regions appear to have a considerably higher minimum wage rate than others.

Below is the 2021 minimum wage by province map depicting the hourly rates within each province and territory. The map was color-coded based on provinces and territories that have lower, medium, or higher minimum hourly rates. Click here if you want to view the 2021 minimum wage by province table and expected minimum wage increases, or here to view the 2021 minimum hourly wage rates for young workers and specific occupations.

Minimum wage in Canada by province map

When will minimum wage increases happen?

Each Canadian jurisdiction, i.e. a province or territory, is responsible for the changes in the minimum wage rate. As a rule, the minimum wage in Canada increases annually and is subject to the CPI indexation formula. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the price of consumer goods and changes in the market price levels. That’s why the CPI is a major determinant of income adjustments and increases in the Canadian minimum wage. 

As of April 2021, five provinces experienced their annual minimum wage increase. Effective April 1st, 2021, the minimum wage in New Brunswick rose to $11.75. On the same day, the minimum wage rate in Newfoundland and Labrador increased to $12.50, in Nova Scotia – $12.95, in Prince Edward Island – $13.00, and in Yukon – $13.85 [1].

Some provinces are yet to experience an increase in the minimum wage rate in 2021. For instance, the minimum wage in Quebec will soon become $13.50 on May 1st, 2021. Next, the minimum wage rate in British Columbia is expected to increase to $15.20 on June 1st, 2021. Following British Columbia, the new rate in Northwest Territories will be increased on September 1st, 2021 to $15.20. Coming close to the end of the year, Manitoba will have an increase to $11.95 on October 1st, 2021. On the same day with Manitoba, the minimum wage in Ontario will rise to $14.35 [1].

DID YOU KNOW?

The federal minimum wage in Canada was redefined in 1996 [1].

The minimum wage in Canada applicable to employees under federal jurisdiction is the general adult minimum wage of the province or territory [1].

Recent stats and interesting facts about the minimum wage

1

Minimum wage increase

In 2021, Canadian minimum wage will increase in the following provinces/territories: British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec [1].
2

Young workers

There is a special minimum wage in Canada for young workers, otherwise called student minimum wage, and people working specific occupations. A student minimum wage rate is applicable to students under the age of 18 [3].
3

Minimum wage growth

Over the past 20 years, the average minimum wage grew by 3.5% annually, and the average hourly wage for all employees increased by 2.7% every year [4].
4

Minimum wage distribution

According to Statistics Canada, road transport has the greatest proportion of minimum wage workers - around 30% on average [5].
5

Recent trends

In recent years, employees living in urban areas are more likely to work minimum wage jobs as opposed to rural areas which had a higher proportion of minimum wage workers until the surge of such workers in urban areas in 2007-2013 [4].
6

The percentage of minimum wage workers in Canada

According to Statistics Canada’s report, the percentage of minimum wage workers in Canada almost doubled in the span of the last 10 years. The most recent data available from 2018 show that 10.4% of all workers received minimum wage. In comparison, only 5.3% of all employees were minimum wage workers in 2008.

Current and Forthcoming Minimum Wage Rates in 2021 [1]

Province/Territory
Current Min Wage Rate
Increase Expected in 2021
Alberta
$15.00
-
British Columbia
$14.60
$15.20
Manitoba
$11.90
$11.95
New Brunswick
$11.75
-
Newfoundland and Labrador
$12.50
-
Northwest Territories
$13.46
$15.20
Nova Scotia
$12.95
-
Nunavut
$16.00
-
Ontario
$14.25
$14.35
Prince Edward Island
$13.00
-
Quebec
$13.10
$13.50
Saskatchewan
$11.45
-
Yukon
$13.85
-

The rates you saw in the table above generally apply to experienced adult workers under each jurisdiction in Canada. In most provinces and territories, these rates also consider inexperienced workers or students. Nevertheless, there are exceptions where special rates apply to young workers and workers of specific occupations. Below is the table that shows current and forthcoming minimum wage rates in Canada for young workers and specific occupations in 2021.

2021 Minimum Hourly Wage Rates For Young Workers And Specific Occupations [3]

Province
Minimum Wage Exceptions Applicable to Young Workers and Special Occupations
Alberta
Salespersons are eligible for the minimum of $598 weekly. This amount applies to: commercial salespersons, automobile, truck or bus salespersons, farm machinery, construction equipment, and commission salespersons, mobile or residential home salespersons; Students under 18 who work up to 28 hours per week, or during a school holiday earn the minimum wage of $13/hr.
Manitoba
Licensed security guards are entitled to the minimum rate of $12.50 per hour; Employees whose work hours are unverifiable and who are not strictly remunerated by commission are entitled to $495 per week.
New Brunswick
Counsellor and program staff at a residential summer camp who work for a charitable or a not-for-profit organization are entitled to receive $440 per week.
Nova Scotia
Employees in construction, property maintenance work, logging or forest operations are entitled to receive $11/hr minimum; Inexperienced employees, i.e. employed for less than 3 months, are entitled to the minimum rate of $11.05/hr.
Quebec
Employees who usually receive gratuities are entitled to receive the minimum rate of $10.45.
Ontario
Employees who serve liquor in licensed establishments are entitled to receive the minimum rate of $12.45.

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