Rosie Awori (LJI)
Quebec’s minimum wage rose to $13.50 an hour as of Saturday May 1, which is $0.40 higher than 2020. For tip workers, such as wait-staff, the minimum wage will increase by 35 cents to $10.80 an hour.
The 3.1-per-cent increase is said to allow the province to reach its target of a 50-per-cent ratio between the minimum hourly wage and the average hourly wage in the province.
The increase comes after Premier Francois Legault’s government hinted in December that a hike in the minimum wage was planned.
Quebec Labour Minister Jean Boulet said the increase will allow for a fairer wage without negatively affecting employment or business competitiveness. He added that the increase will contribute to reducing pay inequities and increase the buying power of the 287,000 Quebecers — 164,700 of them women — in minimum-wage jobs.
This increase in the minimum wage will make it possible to achieve “the target of a 50% ratio between the general minimum wage rate and the average hourly wage,” the government said on Wednesday.
Quebec’s new $13.50 rate places the province at average in comparison to Canada’s other provinces and territories. Provinces such as Nunavut ($16/hour), British Columbia ($15.20/hour), Alberta ($15/hour), and Ontario ($14.25/hour) have the highest minimum wages in the country. While in neighboring Ontario, the minimum wage is currently $14.25 an hour. The province increased wages by 25 cents in October 2020. Yukon’s minimum wage is $13.85 as of April 2021. In the Northwest Territories, minimum wages are $13.46 since 2018 and are not expected to increase in 2021. In Prince Edward Island minimum wage is $12.45 and is expected to increase to $13 in 2021. As for Newfoundland and Labrador, the minimum wage increased by 75 cents in 2020, for a current hourly wage of $12.15. The province will raise its minimum wage twice in 2021 — in April and October, both by 25 cents bringing the minimum to $12.65 by the end of this year.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) believes that this is a bad time to increase the minimum wage in Quebec, while many companies are in difficulty because of the health crisis.
Most anti-poverty groups estimate that a minimum of no less than $15 is necessary in order to keep the working poor out of abject poverty. Some call for minimum wage to be increased to as high as $20 to $25 per hour.