Minimum Wage Database Introduction


The minimum wage is a basic labour standard that sets the lowest wage rate that an employer can pay to employees. One of the main purposes of a minimum wage is to protect non-unionized workers in unskilled jobs, although it can also influence, directly or indirectly, the level of compensation of other employees. This is because a minimum wage constitutes a base that employees or their unions may use as a starting point for negotiations with management for higher remuneration. Adjustments to the minimum wage are required from time to time to account for changing economic and social conditions.

Every province and territory in Canada provides for a minimum wage in its employment standards legislation. In the federal jurisdiction, workers covered by Part III (Standard Hours, Wages, Vacations and Holidays) of the Canada Labour Code are entitled to the general adult minimum wage rate applicable in the province or territory where they are usually employed; however, the Governor in Council may still fix another rate by regulation.

Although general minimum wage rates in every Canadian jurisdiction apply to most workers, some categories of employees are specifically excluded from minimum wage provisions in the relevant statute or regulation. Other employees are covered by a different minimum wage rate. Legislated general minimum wage rates are also often supplemented by special orders, regulations or decrees that apply to particular industries, occupations or classes of employees, and in some cases take into account special skills.

This Minimum Wage Database provides information on current and forthcoming minimum hourly wage rates for adult workers, young workers and workers occupying specific occupations across Canada, as well as historical data on minimum wage rates in Canada since 1965. It also allows for a customized search, by jurisdiction, for general minimum wage rates.

Labour Law Analysis
Strategic Policy, Analysis, and Workplace Information Directorate
Labour Program, Employment and Social Development Canada
June 2016

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