Minimum Wage In Canada: By Province & Territory (2022)

In April 2022, the Canadian government moved to increase the federal minimum wage to $15.55.

Other Canadian provinces and territories quickly followed suit with wage increases in 2022, and many have plans to further increase the minimum wage in 2023.

Below, I’ll give you the most up-to-date breakdown of minimum wage in Canada.

I’ll show you the most recent minimum wage increases by province and territory and explain a few specifics and exceptions to the law in each region.

Minimum Wage In Canada: Provinces & Territories

Below, I’ll give you a complete provincial and territorial breakdown of minimum wage in Canada.

For easy reference, though, here’s a quick chart so you can easily compare and contrast minimum wage in Canada:

Province or TerritoryMinimum WageDate of Increase
Federal (Canada)$15.55 per hourApril 1, 2022
Alberta$15 per hourOctober 1, 2018
British Columbia$15.65 per hourJune 1, 2022
Manitoba$13.50 per hourOctober 1, 2022
New Brunswick$13.75 per hourOctober 1, 2022
Newfoundland and Labrador$13.70 per hourOctober 1, 2022
Northwest Territories$15.20 per hourSeptember 1, 2021
Nova Scotia$13.60 per hourOctober 1, 2022
Nunavut$16 per hourApril 1, 2020
Ontario$15.50 per hourOctober 1, 2022
Prince Edward Island$13.70 per hourApril 1, 2022
Quebec$14.25 per hourMay 1, 2022
Saskatchewan$13 per hourOctober 1, 2022
Yukon$15.70 per hourApril 1, 2022

Due to rising inflation rates in Canada, the cost of living has increased significantly throughout the country. While the majority of consumers support minimum wage increases, many small businesses do not.

The arguments for and against minimum wage increases are as follows:

  • Proponents say that minimum wage increases will offset inflation and help make necessities like groceries and fuel more affordable for consumers.
  • Opponents say that minimum wage increases hurt workers and businesses, as many businesses won’t be able to keep up with the increase and may have to lay off employees.

Personally, I see both sides of the argument. Regardless of belief, though, both businesses and employees will have to learn how to adapt to the changes and make the best of them.

Is There A Canadian Minimum Wage?

In addition to provincial minimum wage laws, Canada has a federal minimum wage of $15.55 per hour. The federal minimum wage in Canada increased at the start of the second fiscal quarter on April 1, 2022.

What Is the Federal Minimum Wage In Canada?

The $15.55 federal minimum wage is the minimum hourly wage that must be paid to all federal employees working with or under the federal government.

The federal minimum wage law also applies to any industries that are directly overseen or regulated by the Canadian federal government.

What makes the federal minimum wage different from the provincial minimum wage, though?

The federal minimum wage only applies to federal or federally-regulated positions.

For example, if you live in Saskatchewan (where the provincial minimum wage is $13), you’re not entitled to earn the federal minimum wage unless you work a federal job.

Positions That Qualify For Federal Minimum Wage Canada

If you work directly for the Canadian government or a branch of the federal government, then you’re definitely entitled to receive the Canadian federal minimum wage.

However, many Canadians don’t know that the following federally-regulated industries must also follow the federal minimum wage law:

Many of these jobs pay above minimum wage, but it’s still good to know about your federal wage protections.

Minimum Wage Canada: Complete Breakdown

Now that you know a little bit more about how minimum wage laws work in Canada, here’s a complete breakdown of minimum wage in Canada by province and territory.

I’ll also share a few other helpful details about how much it costs to live in the region and explain any exceptions to the rule.

1. Alberta Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage In Alberta
  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $15 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: October 1, 2018
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,772 per month

Alberta was the first province to implement a $15 minimum wage in 2018, nearly two years before the onslaught of the global pandemic and the ensuing inflation.

When the government of Alberta made this move, they ruffled a lot of feathers, and made headlines nation-wide.

Other provinces and territories in Canada didn’t adopt a $15+ minimum wage until recently.

Unfortunately, though, Alberta doesn’t have any immediate plans to further increase its provincial minimum wage, and shelved the debate when it came up in August 2022.

Exceptions to Minimum Wage In Alberta:

  • Students under 18 only need to paid $13 per hour
  • Full-time commission-based employees entitled to $598 per week
  • Live-in domestic workers must earn at least $2,848 monthly ($712 weekly)

2. British Columbia

Minimum Wage In B.C
  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $15.65 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: June 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $2,283 per month

British Columbia was one of the first provinces in Canada to institute a minimum wage in 1918. Today, they’ve followed a progressive path and have one of the highest minimum wages in Canada – $15.65 per hour.

While British Columbia has a higher minimum wage than other provinces, the cost of living in BC can be a bit expensive, especially if you live closer to Vancouver and other major cities.

The average cost of living in BC is $2,283 per month. However, full-time minimum wage workers only earn an average of $1,997 per month, which indicates a wage disparity.

The government of BC is considering a $16 minimum wage in the future, though.

Exceptions to Minimum Wage In British Columbia:

  • Live-in domestic workers should be paid at least $113.50 per day
  • Tip-earners and liquor servers must be paid the $15.65 minimum wage, in addition to tips

3. Manitoba

Minimum Wage In Manitoba
  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $13.50 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: October 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,586 per month

Manitoba has one of the lowest minimum wages in the country. That being said, the province has plans to steadily increase its minimum wage over the course of 2023.

The Manitoban government voted to increase the minimum wage to $13.50 per hour starting October 1, 2022.

In 2023, Manitoba will introduce the following increases to minimum wage:

  • April 1, 2023 – $14.15 per hour
  • October 1, 2023 – $15 per hour

Manitoba’s slow but steady pace of minimum wage increase sets it apart from other provinces which dramatically increased minimum wage at one time.

Exceptions to Minimum Wage in Manitoba:

  • Part-time domestic workers (who work less than 12 hours per week)
  • Commission and tip-earners must earn at least minimum wage and employers must make up the difference if they do not earn minimum wage for hours worked after commission/tip

4. New Brunswick

  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $13.75 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: October 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,504 per month

Historically, New Brunswick has always had a low minimum wage. On October 1, 2022, though, the government increased the provincial minimum wage to $13.75 per hour.

Although minimum wage in New Brunswick may seem a bit low, the province also has a lower cost of living, and the average single resident can live on $1,504 per month, including rent.

In other words, minimum wage earners who work full-time can still stay afloat and pay their bills.

Exceptions to Minimum Wage In New Brunswick:

  • Commission and tip earners must earn at least minimum wage for hours worked
  • Specific categories of construction workers must be paid more
  • Counselors at summer camps don’t need to be paid minimum wage

5. Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $13.70 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: October 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,444 per month

Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s easternmost province. The government recently increased the minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador to $13.70 per her on October 1, 2022. The following minimum wage increases will be made in 2023:

  • April 1, 2023 – $14.50 per hour
  • October 1, 2023 – $15 per hour

The province is following Manitoba’s plan of steadily increasing wages to bring them up to $15 per hour by the final quarter of 2023.

6. Northwest Territories

  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $15.20 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: September 1, 2021
  • Average Cost Of Living: $2,212 per month

The Northwest Territories represent the northernmost region of Canada. Here, the winters are harsh and there’s a shortage in housing, which has led to high rental costs and increased the overall cost of living.

In September 2021, the Northwest Territories voted to increase the minimum wage to $15.20 per hour to balance out the increasing cost of living in the region. Currently, there are no set dates or plans to increase the minimum wage in NWT.

7. Nova Scotia

  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $13.60 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: October 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,868 per month

Nova Scotia is one of the more affordable Canadian provinces to live in and single residents can live on $1,868 per month. That being said, Nova Scotia’s minimum wage is quite low compared to the rest of the country.

On October 1, Nova Scotia slightly increased its previous minimum wage of $13.35 by 25 cents to the current rate of $13.60 per hour.

In 2024, the government of Nova Scotia plans to increase its provincial minimum wage to $15 per hour. By then, however, Nova Scotia may still be falling behind in terms of minimum wage laws.

8. Nunavut

  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $16 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: April 1, 2020
  • Average Cost Of Living: $3,369 per month

While Nunavut has the highest minimum wage in Canada, it’s also one of the most expensive territories to live in. The cost of renting an apartment can easily cost residents upward of $2,500, before other living expenses.

Nunavut has few public roads and many of its roads and rail lines are inaccessible during the winter months.

As a result, many consumer goods must be delivered by air, which is the most expensive method of transportation.

Exceptions to Minimum Wage In Nunavut:

  • Workers in commercial fisheries
  • Trappers and hunters

9. Ontario

Minimum Wage In Ontario
  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $15.50
  • Most Recent Increase: October 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $2,014

Ontario has the largest population in Canada, a $15.50 provincial minimum wage, and is home to over 400,000 small businesses. It’s also home to the highest concentration of billionaires in Canada.

In October 2022, the government of Ontario voted to increase the minimum wage from its previous amount of $15 per hour, in response to rising inflation rates and consumer goods.

At this time, there aren’t any set plans to increase the minimum wage further.

Exceptions to Minimum Wage In Ontario:

  • Students under 18 only need to be paid $14.60 per hour
  • In-home workers must be paid at least $16.50 per hour

10. Prince Edward Island

  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $13.70 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: April 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,716

Prince Edward Island currently has one of the lowest minimum wages in Canada and only recently increased its provincial minimum wage to $13.70 per hour in April 2022.

However, PEI plans to increase its provincial minimum wage several times over the course of 2023 to eventually reach a $15 minimum wage.

PEI’s minimum wage increase dates are as follows:

  • January 1, 2023 – $14.50 per hour
  • October 1, 2023 – $15 per hour

Exceptions to Minimum Wage In Prince Edward Island:

  • Commission and tip-earners must earn at least minimum wage for hours worked
  • A standard workweek is 48 hours (unlike the usual 40-hour week in most provinces). This means workers aren’t entitled to overtime pay until after 48 hours

11. Quebec

Minimum Wage In Quebec
  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $14.25 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: May 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,551

In terms of minimum wage, Quebec stands in the middle compared to neighbouring provinces. In May 2022, the government of Quebec voted to increase the provincial minimum wage to $14.25 per hour.

Quebec has been hesitant to dramatically increase the minimum wage, as the government wants to give small businesses a chance to economically recover after the pandemic.

Provincial officials believe that a $15 minimum wage could harm local Quebec businesses if it were instituted at this time.

Exceptions to Minimum Wage In Quebec:

  • Tip earners are only entitled to a minimum wage of $11.40 per hour
  • Raspberry and strawberry pickers only need to be paid by the kilogram and aren’t entitled to minimum wage

12. Saskatchewan

Minimum Wage In Saskatchewan
  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $13 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: October 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,517 per month

Saskatchewan has a fairly low minimum wage of just $15 per hour. However, the province has plans to increase the minimum wage on the following dates:

  • October 1, 2023 – $14 per hour
  • October 1, 2024 – $15 per hour

Although Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is lower than other provinces and territories in Canada, the cost of living is more affordable, and a single resident can live on just over $1,500 per month.

Even Regina, the province’s capital, has an overall low cost of living compared to other provincial capital cities.

13. Yukon

  • Provincial Minimum Wage: $15.70 per hour
  • Most Recent Increase: April 1, 2022
  • Average Cost Of Living: $1,546

Yukon is one of Canada’s three territories and has a high minimum wage of $15.70 per hour. Unlike Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, though, Yukon has a fairly low cost of living.

It’s easier to live on minimum wage in Yukon than it is to live on minimum wage in the other two territories.

At this time, Yukon doesn’t have any immediate plans to further increase its minimum wage.

One of the more interesting facts about Yukon is that the territory’s minimum wage follows the current consumer price index (CPI). This means that the minimum wage will presumably increase when the CPI increases.

Which Province Has The Highest Minimum Wage In Canada?

The territory of Nunavut currently has the highest minimum wage in Canada at $16 per hour. However, Nunavut is also a very expensive place to live in due to the high price of goods, fuel, and services.

The province with the highest minimum wage is British Columbia, which offers a $15.65 minimum wage. 

What Happens If Employers Don’t Pay Minimum Wage?

If an employee is not being paid the minimum wage that they’re due for their position, then they can report the business to the Labour Program. From here, representatives will investigate the claim.

If the business is found to have underpaid workers, they will usually be fined in addition to being required to pay the amount owed back to the claimant.

Will The Minimum Wage Increase In Canada?

Currently, the federal government has no plans to increase the minimum wage in Canada.

However, if inflation continues to rise, then the federal minimum wage in Canada could increase at some point during the next few years.

Conclusion – Can You Live On Minimum Wage In Canada?

Minimum Wage In Canada

It depends on where you live. Minimum wage earners in cheaper provinces like Nova Scotia or Saskatchewan have it easier, while minimum wage earners in more expensive provinces like British Columbia may have trouble making ends meet.

While minimum wage increases are helpful, you’ll never be able to build true financial freedom if you’re just working a single minimum wage job.

If you’re ready to improve your financial literacy and learn how to start saving more money to build the life that you want, keep on reading and check out my guide to how to save money (even if you’re on a tight budget) next!

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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