In a move designed to “keep pace with inflation”, Canada’s federal minimum wage will be increasing by $1.10 as of today.
In the words of Canada’s Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., “the cost of living is rising, so we’re making sure that wages keep going up too. We’re looking after workers, because that’s how you grow the economy and create more prosperity for everyone.”
According to the press release from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the federal minimum wage will increase to $16.65 as of April 1, 2023. This comes after the Consumer Price Index rose by 6.8% in 2022.
At present, ESDC notes that around 26,000 working Canadians earn less than $15.55 per hour, the current federal minimum wage.
The federal minimum wage rate “applies to workers and interns in federally regulated private sectors, including banks, postal and courier services, and interprovincial air, rail, road, and marine transportation.”
Minimum wages across Canada
In line with the rising federal minimum wage, employers must pay their workers whichever rate is higher between the federal minimum wage or the minimum wage in their province/territory of operation.
At the time of writing, here are the minimum wage rates in each province/territory across Canada.
|British Columbia||$15.65||As of 06/01/2022|
|Alberta||$15.00||As of 06/26/2019|
|Saskatchewan||$13.00||As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.00 on 10/01/2023, then to $15.00 on 10/01/2024.|
|Manitoba||$13.50||As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.15 on 04/01/2023, then to $15.30 on 10/01/2023.|
|Ontario||$15.50||As of 10/01/2022|
|Quebec||$14.25||As of 05/01/2022|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$13.70||As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.50 on 04/01/2023, then to $15.00 on 10/01/2023.|
|New Brunswick||$13.75||As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.75 on 04/01/2023.|
|Prince Edward Island||$14.50||As of 01/01/2023. Set to increase to $15.00 on 10/01/2023.|
|Nova Scotia||$13.60||As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.50 on 04/01/2023, then to $15.00 on 10/01/2023.|
|Northwest Territories||$15.20||As of 09/01/2021|
|Nunavut||$16.00||As of 04/01/2020|
|Yukon||$15.70||As of 04/01/2022. Set to increase to $16.77 on 04/01/2023.|
Employment rights for Canadian newcomers
To find employment to support themselves and their family, Canadian immigrants are prone to pursuing opportunities that may leave them susceptible to exploitation. This has historically meant that newcomers to Canada are over-represented in low-wage jobs when they arrive in this country.
To combat employment exploitation of newcomers to Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) clearly communicates the employment rights of Canadian immigrants.
Note: Workers’ rights in Canada are generally defined by federal legislation called the Canada Labour Code. According to this legislation, all workers (permanent residents, citizens, foreign workers, international students etc.), are entitled to compensation for their work and a safe workplace.
What are my rights?
Additionally, in Canada, newcomers have certain key entitlements. These include:
- Information about their rights provided to them by their employer
- A signed copy of their employment agree
- ment (provided by their first day of work), which outlines pay for the job as well as explicitly outlined terms of overtime work (if applicable)
- Job training
- Reasonable healthcare services
Employers also cannot mistreat employees (including newcomers to Canada) in any way. Mistreatment, as defined by IRCC guidelines, may include (but is not limited to):
- Forcing workers to perform unsafe work or unauthorized work (in accordance with the employment agreement)
- Forcing employees to work if they are sick/injured
- Forcing overtime work on employees who do not have overtime work in their employment agreement
- Taking away an employee’s passport or work permit
- Deporting an employee or changing their immigration status
Canadian employers have a “duty to accommodate” under the Canada Labour Code. This means that they must, in certain situations, change an employee’s work environment/duties to prevent or reduce workplace discrimination and allow the worker to perform their job.
According to the Canadian Human Rights Act, the 11 recognized grounds of discrimination include race, national/ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and a conviction (for which a pardon/record suspension has been granted).
Learning more about foreign workers’ rights in this country
Click here to read more about temporary foreign worker rights in Canada, including what happens if an employer is not compliant with the above conditions. This article also provides an explanation of general foreign worker rights in Canada, including the right to a workplace free of abuse.
Reporting issues in the workplace
Canada has different reporting measures depending on the issue being addressed.
Employees who feel that their compensation is unfair, believe they are being treated unfairly or that their employment agreement is not being honoured can contact the employment standards office in their province/territory for assistance.
For those who have been asked to perform dangerous work or work in generally unsafe conditions, problems can be reported to the appropriate provincial/territorial workplace health and safety office. The same goes for workers who have been injured or fallen ill due to their work.
Note: Workers who have fallen ill or become injured on the job may also apply for workers’ compensation benefits, which are payments designed to make up for wages lost due to an injury or illness