A breakdown of minimum wage legislation in Canada



Originally published on March 22, 2021

What is minimum wage?

In Canada, legislation (federal and provincial) determines that all employees are eligible to receive minimum wage. By definition, it’s the lowest rate at which an employer can legally pay its staff and is not dependent on whether the employee has full-time, part-time or casual employment, or if they’re paid salary, commission, or a flat, piece, or hourly rate.

What is the current minimum wage rate?

The minimum wage rate for employees varies by province and territory, and it’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure they’re adhering to the legislation of their own jurisdiction. To explore what the provincial minimum wage rates are, visit: https://www.payworks.ca/resources/legislation-compliance.

The federal rate is for employees who work under federal jurisdiction, i.e. whose workplace employment standards are governed by the Canada Labour Code (CLC). According to the Government of Canada, “effective April 1, 2022, the federal minimum wage will be adjusted to $15.55 per hour” and may increase on April 1 of each year. If the minimum wage for the province/territory in which the employee works is higher than the CLC minimum wage, the employee must be paid the higher rate.

Whether your business’ minimum wage rate is regulated by either the federal or provincial/territorial governing bodies, employers should note that minimum wage rates are subject to increases. Those are announced by the respective government for the upcoming year(s).

Minimum wage rate exceptions

There are some exceptions for minimum wage. In some jurisdictions, students and servers have their own minimum wages. Exceptions are also made to minimum wage requirements if a worker exceeds their normally scheduled hours and qualifies for overtime rates.

Like minimum wage, legislation for overtime rates in Canada varies by province and territory. For a comprehensive overview of overtime and more details on why employers should have a strategic plan that clearly defines overtime for their workforce, visit: https://blog.payworks.ca/overview-of-overtime-employers-should-have-a-strategic-plan-that-clearly-defines-overtime.

Here’s where you can download a minimum wage rate chart

We have a consolidated chart that outlines what the minimum wages are across Canada, and which province/territories are expected to change their rates for the upcoming year. What’s even handier is that when a change to minimum wage is announced, this legislative resource is updated and re-sent to your inbox – so you’re always in the know!

Find it in the Payworks Payroll Guide! To download a free copy, visit https://info.payworks.ca/en-ca/payroll-guide-for-canadian-business.

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