Canadian minimum wages vary by province, and all are higher than the United States where the federal rate is $7.25 an hour (wages in some states and U.S. cities are higher than the national level). Alberta has the lowest rate in Canada, at $9.95 an hour, while Nunavut has the highest at $11. Some provinces, such as Nova Scotia, are linking increases to changes in the consumer price index. In Ontario, some groups such as Health Providers Against Poverty are recommending a minimum-wage hike to $14 from $10.25, which business groups say is too much, too quickly.
Share of Canadian employees working for adult minimum wage or less (annual averages)
SOURCE: Statistics Canada
Current minimum hourly wage rates across Canada
|Province||Minimum Wage (hourly)||Next Scheduled Change|
|British Columbia||$10.25 (May 1, 2012)||N/A|
|Alberta||$9.95 (Sept. 1, 2013)||N/A|
|Saskatchewan||$10.00 (Dec. 1, 2012)||N/A|
|Manitoba||$10.45 (Oct. 1, 2013)||$10.45 (Oct. 1, 2013)|
|Ontario||$10.25 (Mar. 31, 2010)||N/A|
|Quebec||$10.15 (May 1, 2013)||N/A|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$10.00 (July 1, 2010)||N/A|
|Nova Scotia||$10.30 (April 1, 2013)||Indexed to inflation annually (April 1,2014)|
|New Brunswick||$10.00 (April 1, 2012)||N/A|
|Prince Edward Island||$10.00 (April 1, 2012)||N/A|
|Yukon||$10.54 (April 1, 2013)||Indexed to inflation annually (April 1,2014)|
|Northwest Territories||$10.00 (April 1, 2011)||N/A|
|Nunavut||$11.00 (Jan. 1, 2011)||N/A|
A living wage is one that covers basic expenses and is enough to provide a decent standard of living. More than 140 U.S. cities have implemented living-wage policies, while about 500 employers in London, England, have pledged to pay a living wage (estimated at £8.80 an hour, about $16). Traction has been slower in Canada, although New Westminster, B.C., has signed on. Vancouver's living wage is pegged at $19.62 an hour while it is $15.95 in Guelph, Ont. The idea is backed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which says a living wage bolsters local economies, and opposed by the Fraser Institute, which argues it results in fewer jobs.
From Switzerland and the U.K. to Namibia and Brazil, the idea of giving citizens a universal, unconditional basic income is growing. Canada is one of the few developed countries that has tested guaranteed incomes, in a mid-1970s experiment in Dauphin, Man. About 400 Canadians, including economists and physicians across the political spectrum, are advocating for a pilot project (http://www.basicincomepilot.ca/).