Federal minimum wage is increasing this week, but not to a living wage

Mar 29 2022, 5:00 pm

It’s not April Fool’s joke. The federal minimum wage is increasing by 55 cents on April 1, in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The federal minimum wage of $15 per hour came into effect on December 29, 2021. Beginning on April 1, the federal minimum wage will rise to $15.55 per hour. For those in provinces with a higher minimum wage, the higher salary will continue to be honoured.

The federal minimum wage is to be adjusted each year to reflect changes to the CPI. This year’s increase reflects a 3.4% rise for those receiving federal minimum wage.

While any wage increase is better than nothing, $15.55 per hour is not enough money to live in any major city in the country. A living wage, according to Living Wage Canada, is “the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their basic expenses and participate in their community.”

Living Wage Canada reports that livable earnings in most major Canadian cities exceed $20 per hour. As of November 2021, the living wage in Ottawa is $18.60; in Toronto, it’s $22.08; in Metro Vancouver, the living wage is $20.52.

As of December, the Government of Canada estimates 26,000 federally-regulated workers across the country make less than $15 per hour. The majority of them live in Ontario or Quebec.

The most significant portion of workers earning less than $15 per hour is in transport (34% non-road, 23% road), followed by telecommunications and broadcasting (19%), postal workers (12%), and banks (12%).

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

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