This paper is certainly one of a number of documents made by the Secretariat to your Professional Panel on contemporary Federal Labour Standards

This paper is certainly one of a number of documents made by the Secretariat to your Professional Panel on contemporary Federal Labour Standards


As history information to stimulate the Panel’s talks. The documents never fundamentally reflect the views associated with the federal Government of Canada.

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For over two decades, the federal minimum wage is pegged into the Canada Labour Code into the minimum wage rate into the province or territory when the worker is generally used. Should this process be maintained or should a freestanding federal minimum wage be reinstated? In cases where a freestanding price had been become used, just how should it is set, at exactly just just what degree and whom should really be eligible to it?


The minimum wage could be the cheapest wage price that a company can legitimately spend its workers and it is a core labour standard.

The policy that is underlying for establishing minimal wages differs. Governments have historically place them in position with a view to protecting non-unionized workers, decreasing the quantity of low-paying jobs, relieving poverty, producing incentives to focus, handling inequality and stimulating growth through increased need.

Minimal wages are set and modified in various methods: in legislation or laws; because of the government-of-the-day or a separate board; and according to inflation, normal wage prices or other financial facets.

The very first minimum wage prices had been created in Canada into the very early 20 century and used mainly to ladies and kids. Manitoba and British Columbia introduced minimal wage legislation in 1918 and Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan used suit in 1920. Prince Edward Island had been the province that is last pass minimal wage legislation addressing both women and men, which it did in 1960.

The federal minimum wage could be the minimum wage relevant to employees included in component III (Labour criteria) for the Canada Labour Code (the Code). This consists of workers in federally regulated companies, federal Crown corporations and specific native federal government tasks on very First Nations reserves.

Pre-1996 approach

From 1965, when role III associated with Code arrived into force, until 1970, the federal minimum wage had been specified into the Code and, at the time of 1971, the Governor in Council had the authority to regulate the price through legislation.

The federal minimum wage was set at $1.25 and rose to $4.00 each hour by 1986, of which point it remained unchanged for the following decade roughly. The federal rate had fallen significantly behind provincial and territorial minimum wage rates, which averaged about $5.95 per hour by the mid-1990s.

Present approach

The Code had been amended in 1996 to handle this case. In specific, modifications had been made so your federal minimum wage would adjust immediately with alterations in provincial and territorial prices, thus making certain the federal price would maintain steadily its relevance as time passes in various financial and social conditions around the world.

The approach that is current present in section 178 of role III of this Code, has two important elements:

  • First, the federal minimum wage is scheduled once the “minimum hourly rate fixed, every once in awhile, by or under an Act for the legislature regarding the province in which the worker is normally used which is generally speaking relevant irrespective of occupation, status or work experience” Footnote 1
  • Second, the Governor in Council gets the authority, by purchase, to: a) replace the minimal hourly price that is fixed with regards to work in a province with another price; or b) fix the absolute minimum hourly price with regards to employment in a province if no such minimal hourly price happens to be fixed. Neither among these two authorities has ever been utilized

In addition, area 178 offers situations where workers are compensated for a foundation apart from a per hour price. In specific, such workers must get at the very least the exact carbon copy of the minimum wage. The Minister is authorized, by purchase, to correct “a standard foundation of work to which a minimal wage on a foundation aside from time could be applied”, as well as “a minimal price of wage that when you look at the viewpoint regarding the Minister may be the exact carbon copy of the minimum wage”.

Present developments

There has been phone telephone telephone calls in modern times when it comes to government to re-establish a uniform, freestanding federal minimum wage. Some have actually argued that it is a case of decency (for example Arthurs, 2006) yet others it is a matter of showing leadership that is federalas an example New Democratic Party movement tabled when you look at the House of Commons in 2014).

Provincial and minimum that is territorial have actually proceeded to steadily increase. At the time of January 1, 2019, they averaged $12.23 each hour, with a minimal of $11.00 each hour in Saskatchewan and a top of $14.00 each hour in Ontario. Many provinces and regions now additionally review and/or set their prices for a daily basis and many prices are indexed to inflation.

In addition, a few provinces have recently implemented significant increases within their prices, or have actually established that they’ll achieve this. Ontario raised its minimal wage from $11.60 to $14.00 each hour on January 1, 2018. In Alberta, the minimal wage rate increased from $11.60 to $15.00 each hour on October 1, 2018 and, in British Columbia, the provincial price increased from $11.35 to $12.65 on June 1, 2018 and certainly will increase to $14.60 on June 1, 2019 and $15.20 on June 1, 2021.

More generally speaking, high-profile campaigns to increase minimal wage rates led by labour and anti-poverty businesses have actually gained energy across the united states in the past few years (for example Fight for $15 and Fairness).

In addition, brand brand new research methodologies and findings have actually assisted to both spur renewed curiosity about the results of minimal wages and notify the development of minimal wage-related reforms. The latter consist of city-level minimal wages in Seattle, Chicago, new york and Washington, D.C., plus the introduction of a nationwide minimum wage in Germany in 2015 and a nationwide living wage in britain in 2016.

Minimal wage into the federally regulated private sector

This area has an analysis of minimal wage and low-wage employees into the federally regulated sector that is privateFRPS), in addition to violations associated with Code’s minimum wage demands.

Analysis of low-wage employees

In line with the jurisdiction that is 2015Federal Survey (FJWS) together with Labour Force Survey (LFS), the Labour Program estimates that there have been 42,000 workers within the FRPS earning the minimum wage when you look at the province by which they worked in 2017, amounting to 5% of all of the FRPS employees. This even compares to 7% of workers earning the minimum wage in Canada in general (excluding the regions, which is why information aren’t available) in 2017. Footnote 2

It’s beneficial to give consideration to those workers making just over the present minimum wage whom may be straight suffering from the use of a uniform federal wage that is minimum. To get this done, a wage limit of $15.00 each hour in 2017 ended up being chosen. The effect is approximately 67,000 workers making significantly less than $15.00 each hour in 2017, comparable to 7% of FRPS workers. By comparison, 21% of all of the workers in Canada will be making not as much as $15 each hour. A far smaller share of FRPS workers would consequently be making simply over the minimum wage when compared with workers in Canada in general.

Here are some is definitely an analysis for the circulation among these two sets of employees—current minimum wage workers and the ones that could be making not as much as $15 per hour—by different faculties, for the FRSP as well as Canada in general. When you look at the discussion below, the definition of “low-wage workers” covers both groups. Footnote 3

The distribution that is provincial of employees amongst the FRPS and Canada is approximately comparable ( dining Table 1). Roughly two-fifths of low-wage employees have been in Ontario. About one-fifth to one-quarter come in Quebec.