Overview of Minimum Wage in Canada

Minimim Wage Rates in Canada by Province and Territory

Canadian currency, assorted coins on one-dollar bill, close-up
Mark Harwood/The Image Bank/Getty Images

When Canada's federal minimum wage laws governing all 10 provinces and three territories were eliminated in 1996, the minimum hourly wage rates for experienced adult workers were set by the provinces and territories themselves. These minimum wage rates have periodically changed, and the new minimum wage laws usually take effect in either April or October. 

Exceptions to Canada's Minimum Wage

Some circumstances circumvent the general minimum wage, applying different minimums to some workers. In Nova Scotia, for example, employers can pay an "inexperienced minimum wage" to workers for the first three months of employment if they have less than three months prior experience in a field; that wage is 50 cents lower than the general minimum wage. Similarly, in Ontario, the minimum wage for students is 70 cents less than the general minimum wage.

Different work situations affect the minimum wage in some provinces, too. In Quebec, the minimum wage for all workers who receive tips is $9.45, which is $1.80 less than the minimum wage of general workers, and the minimum wage for liquor servers in British Columbia is $9.60, more than $1 lower than the general minimum wage. Manitoba has separate minimum wages for security guards ($13.40 per hour in October 2017) and construction workers, whose pay depends on the type of work and experience. Liquor servers in Ontario earn $1.50 less than the minimum wage but home workers earn $1.20 more.

Minimum Weekly and Monthly Wages

Not all occupations are covered by the general hourly minimum wage. Alberta, for example, passed a three-stage wage increase for sales workers, from $486 per week in 2016 to $542 per week in 2017 and $598 per week in 2018. The province did the same with live-in domestic workers, raising the 2016 wage from $2,316 per month to $2,582 per month in 2017, and to $2,848 per month in 2018.

Examples of Minimum Wage Increases in Canada

Most provinces have periodically revised minimum wage rates since Canada's federal mandates were eliminated. For example, in 2017 Saskatchewan tied its minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index, which adjusts for the costs of goods and services, and plans to announce on June 30 each year any change to the minimum wage, which will then take effect on Oct. 1 of the same year. In the first fiscal year of this plan, the 2016 minimum wage of $10.72 was raised to $10.96 in 2017.

Other local governments have scheduled similar increases based on other criteria. Alberta scheduled its $12.20 rate to rise to $13.60 on Oct. 1, 2017, the same date Manitoba ($11 to $11.15), Newfoundland ($10.75 to $11) and Ontario ($11.40 to $11.60) scheduled minimum wage rate hikes.

Province General Wage More Employment Standards
Alberta $13.60 Alberta Human Services
BC $10.85 B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
Manitoba $11.15 Manitoba Family Services and Labour
New Brunswick $11.00 New Brunswick Employment Standards
Newfoundland $11.00 Labour Relations Agency
NWT $12.50 Education, Culture and Employment
Nova Scotia $10.85 Labour and Advanced Education
Nunavut $13.00
Ontario $11.60 Ministry of Labour
PEI $11.25 Environment, Labour and Justice
Quebec $11.25 Commission des normes du travail
Saskatchewan $10.96 Saskatchewan Labour Standards
Yukon $11.32 Employment Standards
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Munroe, Susan. "Overview of Minimum Wage in Canada." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/canadian-minimum-wage-510532. Munroe, Susan. (2020, August 25). Overview of Minimum Wage in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/canadian-minimum-wage-510532 Munroe, Susan. "Overview of Minimum Wage in Canada." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/canadian-minimum-wage-510532 (accessed June 4, 2023).