The Riveting Trends of Canada Minimum Wage

The Riveting Trends of Canada Minimum Wage 1

The trends of Canada minimum wage have been the topic of discussion for college students and immigrants for years. This economic baseline is an essential factor to consider during financial planning calculations and preparation. You simply can not jet off to another country without any idea of how much you can expect to earn!

The minimum wage can determine if you can really afford to live in a country. Without observing the trends of Canada minimum wage, you will not be able to ascertain whether emigrating is a viable option for you or your family.

Minimum wage can answer questions like ‘will your expenses be covered by your earnings?’, ‘what sort of a lifestyle can you expect to live upon arrival in Canada?’ and ‘how many people can you support with your wages and for how long?’

This is why it is so important to stay on top of any shifts in Canada minimum wage. Clearly, it is an essential statistic for all young adults waiting to start their lives in Canada. To help you with your task, we have compiled a thorough look into The trends of Canada minimum wage: What to expect in today’s economy’.

What Is Minimum Wage?

The Riveting Trends of Canada Minimum Wage 3

Photo by Mike Cohen/ Flickr, Copyright 2021

By definition, the minimum wage is the lowest salary that employers can legally pay their workers and the lowest amount that workers can legally sell their labor for. The minimum wage was formulated as a way to prevent employers from exploiting their workers. The minimum wage was supposed to be the minimum amount a person needs to earn an hour to support themselves and their family while working full time (40 hours per week), of course.

However, this may no longer be true. Recently minimum wage has not been living up to its initial promises! Let us look at some of the arguments for and against the minimum wage.

Supporters of the minimum wage say it increases the standard of living for the workers, reduces poverty, reduces inequality, and increases motivation. The reasoning is that once workers are no longer concerned about basic survival, they are more motivated to work harder and smarter, innovate and generally be more willing to put in more effort for their employer.

Exploited workers do the bare minimum because it is what they have to do to survive. That emotional, mental, and physical burden of not having the bare necessities takes a toll on the worker and prohibits them from being as efficient as they could be. Exploited labor creates a workforce of zombies!

Furthermore, a livable minimum wage increases loyalty towards a company. Underpaid workers are forced to work several jobs simultaneously and will leave a job at the first opportunity! This will eventually create a high turnover rate that comes with lengthy training times snd long adjustment periods.

Not to mention, it looks terrible for the company! Minimum wage ensures a company will have motivated, experience members as part of their team.

On the other hand, opponents of the minimum wage say it increases poverty and unemployment because some low-wage workers will be unable to find work and will end up unemployed. They even say that minimum wage is damaging to businesses because excessively high minimum wages require businesses to raise the prices of their product or service in order to pay this wage.

However, these arguments have been heavily criticized as misleading. Low wage workers won’t be forced out of their jobs. Their jobs will have to pay them fairly!

The need for those jobs will not suddenly disappear, so those people will be better off as they will keep their jobs and get paid a fair wage for their labor.

As for businesses, higher wages will indeed cut into their profit margin, but it is also true that it will reduce other expenses like recruitment, turnover, and training costs. It would even benefit the employer as well as paid employees actually bring in more sales and profits than underpaid ones.

So, it seems that the minimum wage is universally a good thing. Now, we can accurately assess the trends of Canada minimum wage.

The Trends of Canada Minimum Wage


The trends of Canada minimum wage began in 1918 when the first minimum wage laws in Canada were introduced in the provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba. Two years later, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan introduced their own minimum wage legislation.

Although, it should be noted that these early wage laws applied only to women (and only to some kinds of employment)!. According to a study by the Human Resources Development department of Canada, the government thought that women (who were just entering the workforce) needed help ensuring that employers would not exploit them based on their gender. The idea was that labour unions (who only represented men) could do a better job of ensuring that men earned a living wage by bargaining on their behalf

The lowest universal minimum wage was one Canadian Dollar per hour in 1965. Ever since then, the trends of Canada minimum wage have been upwardly inclined. Canada Minimum wage is currently the highest it has ever been, proving that Canada minimum wage does indeed increase as the years go on.

The trends of Canada minimum wage remained unchanged in 2019 and the first half of 2020. Both years saw 14 Canadian Dollars per hour minimum wage.  The minimum hourly wage in Ontario will increase on October 1st, 2020, to 14.25 Canadian Dollars per hour.

This is in contrast to the trends of Canada minimum wage from 2010. Canada’s general minimum wage during 2010 varied from province to province. The lowest being 8 Canadian Dollars in British Columbia and the highest being 10.25 Canadian Dollars in Ontario.

When we observe the trends of Canada minimum wage, we can see that Ontario has generally had the highest minimum wage of all the provinces. This is most likely because the cost of living in big cities like Toronto, Ontario, is much higher than in other provinces. A higher minimum wage is required in these areas to ensure that people can live off of their primary income source.

The Trends of Canada Minimum Wage Compared To Other Countries

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Shanghai88, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Canada minimum wage rates are higher than in the U.S on average. The USA’s minimum wage is 7.25 US dollars or 9.50 Canadian Dollars, which is lower than Canada minimum wage, which ranges between 10 and 14 Canadian Dollars per hour.

The U.K, on the other hand, has a minimum wage of 8.72 Pounds Sterling or just over 15 Canadian Dollars per hour. This may have to do with the cost of living, as it is generally more expensive to live in London than it is to live in Toronto, or it could be because the two nations have varying opinions on what constitutes a ‘livable wage’.

Is Canada Minimum Wage Livable?

While analyzing the trends of Canada minimum wage, we have failed to assess whether it is actually a livable wage.

The average cost of living in Canada in 2730 Canadian Dollars per month for a single person and 5158 Canadian Dollars per month for a family of four. Keep in mind that the cost does vary from city to city.

If we take the highest minimum wage (14.25 Dollars) and multiply that by the average 40-hour work week, we get 570 Canadian Dollars per week. Multiply that by the 4.35 weeks in a month, and we get 2480 Canadian Dollars per month.

So, the minimum wage results in a monthly income that is slightly less than the average cost of living for one person. A family of four would require two incomes earning slightly above minimum wage to meet the average cost of living. It is technically livable, but it would be a tight fit! Not to mention it is a far cry from the original idea of one minimum wage worker being able to support a whole family!

What Can We Learn From the Trends of Canada Minimum Wage?

As we can see, the minimum wage is an important piece of legislation that enshrines a worker’s right to earn a fair wage. While minimum wage once allowed a person to live comfortably, it now ensures a person will be able to earn the bare minimum to survive.

Many people advocate for a higher minimum wage so that the figure can fulfill its original purpose. The minimum wage has been proven to help businesses earn more profits, cut down on costs, and overall increase customer and employee satisfaction.

The Canadian government apparently understands this as the trends of Canada minimum wage have been increasing steadily from the policy’s introduction in 1918. While the law was limited in its reach, to begin with, it now applies to most workers (except for self-employed workers, independent contractors, students in training programs, and freelancers).

The minimum wage was, is, and always will be a valuable asset in any economy. The higher the minimum wage, the happier and less exploited the workforce. A satisfied workforce is a workforce that will drive not only the economy, bit progress, innovation, and prosperity.

So it seems the current trends of Canada minimum wage are, in fact, for the best.

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