Multiple provinces in Canada increased their general minimum wages effective October 1, 2023. The provinces that made such increases and their new minimum wages are as follows:
- Ontario: C$16.55/hour
- Manitoba: C$15.30/hour
- Newfoundland & Labrador: C$15.00/hour
- Nova Scotia: C$15.00/hour
- Prince Edward Island: C$15.00/hour
- Saskatchewan: C$14.00/hour
Typically, employers must ensure their employees earn the applicable minimum wage over each pay period regardless of the method by which employees are compensated, such as salary or commissions. There are various exceptions applicable to each province’s or territory’s general minimum wage. Depending on the province or territory, different minimum wage rates may apply to, for example, licensed professionals, students, homeworkers, and employees in the agriculture, construction, forestry, or fishing industries. Employers should refer to employment standards legislation and government announcements for the provinces and territories in which they have employees to determine the minimum wage(s) that applies to their workforce and seek advice from counsel if the applicable rates are not clear.
Employers in federally regulated industries – which include banks, railways, airlines, telecommunications companies, and others – are required to pay employees the minimum wage of the province or territory in which they are usually employed if it is higher than the minimum wage established under the Canada Labour Code, which is presently $16.65 per hour. At $16.75 per hour, British Columbia is currently the only province with a minimum wage higher than the federal one, while the Yukon territory has Canada’s highest minimum wage at $16.77 per hour.
Failure to pay employees at least the applicable minimum wage can result in claims from employees, interest accruing on the unpaid amounts, liens being imposed on the real and personal property of the employer, fines, personal liability attributable to directors, and/or other penalties based on the particular jurisdiction. Accordingly, employers should revisit their employment contracts and policies to ensure their pay practices meet or exceed the minimum requirements of applicable employment standards legislation.
Please contact Mintz’s Canadian Employment Practice if you require any guidance or assistance in complying with the minimum wage requirements applicable to your business or any other federal or provincial employment laws in Canada.