The minimum wage is the lowest wage rate an employer is legally allowed to pay its employees for their work performed.
In Canada, the highest minimum wage is in the province of Nunavut, which is $16.00 per hour with no age restriction. In contrast, the lowest minimum wage in Canada is in Saskatchewan at $13.00 per hour.
In comparison, the federal minimum wage is $15.55, which is set to increase to $16.65 in April 2023.
The minimum wage is different across Canada since each province and territory establishes its pay rate according to the cost of living.
- The Canadian province with the highest minimum wage is Nunavut, set at $16.00 per hour and was effective as of April 1, 2020.
- The lowest minimum wage in Canada is in Saskatchewan at $13.00 per hour, but it will gradually increase until it reaches $15.00 per hour on October 1, 2024.
- The general minimum wage in Canada is $15.55, set to increase to $16.65 in April 2023.
- The minimum wage varies across Canada since each province and territory has its own employment standards legislation.
What is the Highest Minimum Wage in Canada?
Nunavut has the highest minimum wage in Canada at $16.00 per hour. It has been the rate since April 1, 2020.
The decision to increase came after a consultation process that involved reviewing information about the cost of living in the territory, available social supports, and minimum wage levels across Canada.
Minimum Wage By Province
Below is the current minimum wage across Canada.
|Province||Minimum Hourly Wage||Effective Date|
|Alberta||$15.00||Effective as of October 1, 2018.|
|British Columbia||$15.65||Effective as of June 1, 2022.|
|Manitoba||$13.50||Effective as of October 1, 2022. The minimum wage will further increase on April 1, 2023, to $14.15 an hour.|
|New Brunswick||$13.75||Effective as of October 1, 2022. The rate will be increased to $14.75 per hour effective April 1, 2023.|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$13.70||Effective October 1, 2022. This will increase to $14.50 per hour on April 1, 2023, and to $15.00 per hour on April 1, 2024.|
|Northwest Territories||$15.20||Effective as of September 1, 2021. A committee reviews NWT’s minimum wage every two years.|
|Nova Scotia||$13.60||Effective as of February 3, 2023. The province is working on a two-step plan to bring the wage to $15.00 by October 1, 2023|
|Nunavut||$16.00||Effective as of April 1, 2020. The minimum wage in NU is reviewed on April 1 of every year.|
|Ontario||$15.50||Effective as of October 1, 2022.|
|Prince Edward Island||$14.50||Effective as of January 1, 2023. On October 1, 2023, the minimum wage will increase from $14.50 to $15.00 per hour.|
|Quebec||$14.25||Effective as of May 1, 2022. On May 1, 2023, Quebec’s minimum wage will increase to $15.25.|
|Saskatchewan||$13.00||Effective as of October 1, 2022. On October 1, 2023, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour and $15 per hour on October 1, 2024.|
|Yukon||$15.70||Effective as of April 1, 2022. On April 1, 2023, Yukon’s minimum wage will climb to $16.77 per hour from $15.70 per hour.|
Minimum Wage Rules and Exemptions in Canada
Below are the minimum wage rules and exemptions in some provinces in Canada.
The Ontario minimum wage is $15.50, effective October 1, 2022.
Its Employment Standards Act states that employers and employees must follow the legislation regarding wages, continuity of employment, work hours, absences, overtime, and others.
The legislation also lists exemptions to the Act, which include:
- Employers and employees under the jurisdiction of federal employment law
- Diplomatic personnel
- Students who work under a program run by a college or university
- Individuals who perform community participation work
- Police officers
- Directors of a corporation, etc.
The BC minimum wage is $15.65, effective June 1, 2022.
The Employment Standards Act of British Columbia states that the minimum wage legislation covers casual, probationary, temporary, and part-time employees working in the province.
As to exemptions, certain employees are not subject to minimum wage requirements. These include:
- Federally-regulated employees, and
- Employees under the categories stated in the Exceptions section, including those working under specific arrangements and are employed for a definite term.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Newfoundland minimum wage is $13.70, effective October 1, 2022. This increase is part of a three-step plan to bring the wage to $15.00 by April 1, 2024.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Standards Regulations under the Labour Standards Act requires all employers to meet the legislated minimum employment standards such as:
- Minimum wage
- Hours of work
- Leave entitlements
- Paid public holidays
- Termination of employment, etc.
The Saskatchewan minimum wage is $13.00, effective October 1, 2022. It will increase to $14 per hour on October 1, 2023, and $15 per hour on October 1, 2024.
Saskatchewan specifies that employers must pay their employees at least the minimum wage for each hour that they render work.
As to exemptions, the Saskatchewan Employment Act states that there are employees exempted from receiving minimum wage. These include:
- Federally regulated businesses and industries
- Family businesses employing only immediate family members
- Farming, ranching or market garden labourers
- Athletes, while engaging in their athletic undertaking
- Self-employed individuals
- Babysitters who work in temporary or sporadic conditions
- Student learners
What is the Lowest Minimum Wage in Canada?
The lowest minimum wage in Canada is $13.00 per hour in Saskatchewan, but it is set to increase to $14.00 an hour on October 1, 2023, and to $15.00 per hour on October 1, 2024.
How Many People Earn the Minimum Wage in Canada?
Data from Statistics Canada shows that between 1998 and 2018, the percentage of employees earning the minimum wage in Canada increased from 5.2% to 10.4%.
Meanwhile, the Labour Force Survey estimates that 42,000 federally regulated private sector (FRPS) workers (or 5% of all FRPS employees) earned the minimum wage in the province where they worked in 2017.
In comparison, workers earning minimum wage in Canada overall was at 7% in the same year. This equates to 1.018 million workers in the country (excluding the territories, for which figures were unavailable).
Minimum Wage in Canada for Foreigners
Canada does not have a policy that dictates different wage rates to immigrants since it treats all citizens and immigrants equally.
Whatever type of work immigrants may have, whether they are paid hourly, by salary or by other means, they are all entitled to the general minimum wage.
The current minimum wage in Canada for foreigners and Canadians alike is $15.55 per hour, scheduled to increase to $16.65 per hour in April 2023.
Foreigners who wish to work in the country may need to obtain a work permit, a visitor visa, or both to gain entry to Canada.
The highest living wage in Canada in 2022 was $32.75 in Canmore, Alberta. It took a plunge from $37.40 in 2021.
The hourly rate of $13.00 in Saskatchewan is currently the lowest in Canada. It is, however, scheduled to increase to $14.00 per hour before 2023 ends and to $15.00 by October 2024.
A liveable salary in Canada that may enable you to live comfortably would be CAD 42,000 to CAD 59,000 per year. The actual amount would depend on where you live and the cost of living expenses.
As of February, the average rent in Canada is $1,984 per month. Asking rates increased by 9.7% annually and decreased by 0.6% from January 2023. It is the third successive monthly decline, suggesting a softening in the market.