On May 1st, 2022, the government of Quebec officially increased the province’s minimum wage to $14.25 per hour.
This move was made as a response to Canada’s rapidly rising inflation rate and ensures that Quebecers are being paid a fair (or at least more fair) wage.
There are a few exceptions to the standard minimum wage in Quebec, though.
Below, I’ll explain a bit more about Quebec’s minimum wage, exceptions to the law, and how it factors into overtime laws.
I’ll also break down the minimum wage tax rate in Quebec and examine whether or not it’s possible to live on minimum wage in Quebec.
Although Quebec City is the capital of Quebec, Montreal has long been recognized as the economic centre of the province. While the cost of living in Montreal is slightly higher than other cities in Quebec, the minimum wage remains $14.25, which applies to all Quebecers.
That being said, many businesses in Montreal pay above minimum wage, and jobs in the city generally offer higher pay than in outlying cities and rural towns in Quebec.
For the most part, Quebec’s $14.25 minimum wage applies to all workers. However, there are some exceptions to the rule, which you can find on Quebec’s government site. I’ve outlined the exceptions to the minimum wage in Quebec below, so you can see them for yourself.
1. Minimum Wage Quebec: Restaurant Workers & Tip Workers
Montreal is known for being one of the top cities for food tourism in North America, and has made Quebec a major destination for US and international tourists.
The sheer amount of global cuisine, cocktail restaurants, and food stands in this small city is astounding, and some of the best food I’ve ever had has been in downtown Montreal.
Waiters and bartenders aren’t the only tip workers in the city, though.
Some of the most common tip workers include:
Many of these tip workers earn far more than minimum wage on a good day. I used to have friends who made up to $50 per hour (after tips, of course) bartending on a busy Friday night!
That being said, even tip workers can have bad days. In the past, some businesses were known to exploit this and use this as an opportunity to avoid paying workers a fair wage.
To protect tip workers, Quebec instituted a minimum wage that’s specific to tip earners. It’s not quite as high as the standard minimum wage (since tip workers generally earn far more anyways), but it’s higher than it was in the past.
Today, tip earners in Quebec earn a minimum wage of $11.40 per hour.
This minimum wage will be paid in addition to any tips that you might earn during your shift.
- Related Reading: Did you know that you can invest in restaurant stocks? Click here to see the best restaurant stocks in Canada!
2. Commission & Piecework
Sales jobs and other commission-driven positions have always been a slightly risky option. Sales can either be one of the highest-paying careers or one of the lowest-paying, depending on how good of a salesperson you are, the current market, and the company you’re working for.
You could have a great week where you earn thousands of dollars in commission, followed by a bad week where you earn next to no commissions.
To bridge the gap between good and bad weeks, Quebec’s minimum wage law states that all workers must be paid at least $14.25 per hour. This means that even if you don’t make any commission during a pay period, you’ll at least receive a basic hourly amount to live on.
This rule also applies to workers who are paid by piecework (such as factory workers). For example, if you’re paid $4 per item you assemble, and you only assemble three items ($12 worth) in an hour, your employer must pay an additional $2.25 to ensure that you’re earning minimum wage.
3. Students Under 18
Some provinces, such as Alberta, offer a lower minimum wage to student workers under 18. However, no such exception exists in Quebec. All workers, regardless of age or student status are entitled to a minimum wage of $14.25 per hour.
4. Strawberry & Raspberry Picking
Quebec is known for being an agricultural centre with many strawberry and raspberry farms. To support the agricultural industry, Quebec provides an exception to strawberry and raspberry farms. The current minimum wage rates are as follows:
- Strawberry pickers: $1.13 per kg of strawberries picked
- Raspberry pickers: $4.23 per kg of raspberries picked
Minimum wage laws help to protect workers against exploitation by their employers. However, overtime laws are another vital protection that workers rely on to ensure a fair working environment.
These laws discourage Quebec employers from overworking employees by requiring employers to pay employees extra money for overtime hours. However, it also ensures that hard-working Quebecers are paid extra in the event that they do work extra hours. This is where the idea of a 40-hour work week came from.
Employees who work more than 40 hours in a given week are entitled to time-and-a-half (1.5x) pay for any hours worked over 40 hours.
For example, if you work 45 hours in a week, you’ll receive 40 hours worth of pay at your standard rate, and 5 hours worth of overtime pay.
There are some jobs and positions which overtime laws don’t apply to. Some exceptions to overtime pay laws include:
- Senior managers
- Employees in the fishing industry
- Farmers and agriculture workers
- In-home care providers
- Students working for a non-profit organization
More recently, overtime pay laws were updated to account for remote workers. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some remote workers took advantage of the fact that employers couldn’t control their hours to clock-in extra hours and request overtime that employers couldn’t afford to pay.
Now, remote workers are exempt from overtime pay unless their employer specifically requests them to work more than 40 hours. In other words, a remote employee can’t log overtime hours of their own accord unless they have their employer’s approval.
If you’re working 40 hours per week and earning minimum wage, then you’ll probably earn close to $30,000 per year before taxes. At this rate, you’ll fit into Quebec’s lowest tax bracket and will be required to pay 15% provincial income tax (in addition to 15% federal income tax).
That being said, all Quebec workers are allowed a basic personal amount of $16,143. Workers are not taxed on this amount. In other words, if you earn $30,000 in a year, you’ll only need to pay provincial income tax on $13,857 (the amount you earned minus the basic personal amount).
For reference, the current Quebec tax rates for 2022 are as follows:
|Annual Taxable Income||Quebec Income Tax Rate|
|$0 to $46,295||15%|
|$46,295 to $92,580||20%|
|$92,580 to $112,655||24%|
|$112,655 or more||25.75%|
Compared to Alberta or British Columbia, Quebec’s minimum wage may seem a bit low, especially considering the relatively high provincial tax rate. That being said, it could be hard for minimum-wage earners to live comfortably.
To keep up with bills, groceries, and pay for basic necessities, minimum wage earners would need to create a detailed budget, take advantage of couponing apps, and maybe even work a side hustle.
Quebec only recently raised its minimum wage from $13.50 to $14.25 in May 2022. However, many Quebecers are demanding more. Could Quebec’s minimum wage increase to $15 or more? Possibly. However, I don’t think that it will be anytime soon.
Find out what the minimum wages are for the rest of Canada here.
If you’re tired of working for minimum wage in Quebec and want to start putting some extra cash in your pocket, check out my list of the best apps that pay you to drive next!