Restoring Minimum Wages in Canada


The report argues that the provincial and territorial governments should – in conjunction with key actors including business, labour, experts and social groups – work together through a transparent process to define what constitutes an adequate minimum wage (e.g., equal to the poverty line, or a percentage of average earnings) and how to protect its value over time through some form of indexation (e.g., to the cost of living, or to the change in average earnings).

The report also compares minimum wages in Canada to other countries.  Ontario ranks third-highest in the US and Canada, next to Oregon and Washington.  Eight jurisdictions in Canada rank on the higher side of the Canada/US spectrum – Ontario, Nunavut, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Yukon.  The remaining five jurisdictions rank on the low end – the Northwest Territories, Alberta, PEI, New Brunswick and BC.  Canada ranks mid-pack in the value of its minimum wage ranked with other OECD countries, but poorly in terms of minimum wages as a percentage of average wages.

Publication date: 
Apr 2011
Ken Battle
Caledon Institute
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