The federal minimum wage is going up in April, but it won’t be enough

TORONTO – The federal minimum wage is set to increase in April: earlier this year, the federal government announced that it would increase the minimum wage for its workers by 65 cents, bringing it to around 5.30 p.m. dollars per hour, starting April 1, to keep pace with inflation. 

The change concerns workers in federally regulated sectors such as international and interprovincial transport, telecommunications, banking, as well as postal and courier services. A complete list of federally regulated industries is available on the government website (here is the link:

The measure also applies to interns and workers under the age of 18. The 65 cent increase is based on the Canadian Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous calendar year: the average annual CPI for 2023 is approximately 3.9%.

It should be clarified that the federal minimum wage should not be confused with the provincial minimum wage: the former is specific to workers in federally regulated sectors and has no impact on the minimum wage established by each province and territory. However, if a provincial government has a higher minimum wage than the federal one, workers (in federally regulated sectors) in that province receive the higher wage, i.e., the one based on the provincial minimum wage.

As of March 13, the only province set to raise its minimum wage above $1.30 is Yukon.

And in Ontario? Here the changes will take place in the autumn. In 2023 it rose to $16.55 an hour. At the time, that was quite a jump from the $15.50 workers were being paid in 2022. Gov. Doug Ford pledged to increase it annually in October.

But what are the provincial minimum wages in Canada? Let’s see them all. Alberta $15; British Columbia $16.75; Manitoba $15.30; New Brunswick $14.75, expected to increase to $15.30 in April 2024; Newfoundland and Labrador $15, set to increase to $15.60 in April 2024; Northwest Territories $16.05; Nova Scotia $15, set to increase to $15.20 in April 2024; Nunavut $16; Ontario $16.55; Prince Edward Island $15, which will increase to $16 in April 2024; Quebec $15.25; Saskatchewan $14, set to increase to $15 in October 2024; Yukon $16.77, set to increase to $17.59 in April 2024.

But is the minimum wage enough? Ontario would need a minimum wage s, according to a 2023 analysis by the Ontario Living Wage Network (you can read it here) above $25 per hour in the Greater Toronto Area: a calculation made taking into account costs such as food, rent, transportation, clothing and footwear, medical expenses, child care. Dark times for those who can only count on the minimum wage.

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