By the Numbers: Minimum Wage

by the numbersOttawa – January 30, 2014 – A recent report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) recommended the Ontario minimum wage be increased to $14.50 an hour by 2016 which would be 60% of the average industrial wage and would set the minimum wage as a living wage. This week's announcement by the Ontario Liberal government fell well short of that, with its intention to raise the Ontario minimum wage from $10.25/hour to $11/hour on June 1, with future increases tied to the inflation rate. It would be the first adjustment since 2010.

The increase in the number of Ontario workers paid minimum wage has been substantial. In 2012, 9.3% of the total workers were paid minimum wage compared to only 3.5% in 2003.

The minimum wage is not just a young worker’s job: 40% of Ontario minimum wage workers are older than 25. In 2003, 19.6% of workers working for the minimum wage were 35 and older. By 2012, the percentage of these age group workers went up to 27.1%.

Ontario’s current minimum wage of $10.25 is below the poverty line for full-time workers and short of living-wage calculations across the province that range from $18.69 in Halton to $14.95 in Hamilton.

At $10.25 an hour, Ontario’s minimum wage was within 42% of the average industrial wage in 2013.

The majority of minimum wage workers are more likely to be women, visible minorities and immigrants.

Data in the report also indicates that raising the minimum wage boosts consumer spending, increases productivity and further innovation, and creates positive economic growth.

Minimum wage by province:

Alberta: $9.95 as of September 1, 2013

British Columbia: $10.25 as of May 1, 2012

Manitoba: $10.45 as of October 1, 2013

New Brunswick: $10.00 as of April 1, 2012

Newfoundland and Labrador: $10.00 as of July 1, 2010

Northwest Territories: $10.00 as of April 1, 2011

Nova Scotia: $10.30 as of April 1, 2013

Nunavut: $11.00 as of January 1, 2011

Ontario: $10.25 as of March 31, 2010 ($11.00 as of June 1, 2014)

Prince Edward Island: $10.00 as of April 1, 2012

Quebec: $10.15 as of May 1, 2013

Saskatchewan: $10.00 as of December 1, 2012

Yukon: $10.54 as of April 1, 2013

Source: CCPAMaking every job a good job; Government of Canada – Hourly minimum wages