Minimum wage. A topic much discussed and hotly debated.  What should it be?  Is it enough? Are there advantages to raising it?  What are the disadvantages?


The debate is in full swing in Alberta where by the end of 2018 all workers will make at least $15 an hour which may seem like a great idea to those in need of a raise, but it has prompted debate on whether the move will hinder or help the economy in the long run.

The province has been having a rough go of it with the oil crash and energy sector jobs vanishing.  Add to that soft housing markets and it seems like a good solution.

But the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) calls the minimum wage increase an “ill-advised climb. ” Why?  The CFIB expects that although wages go up it will make job opportunities go down as labour becomes more expensive for employers.  It could also rack up the price for consumers as the cost of business increases.

On the other side of the debate are the good things about increasing a minimum wage.  Many economists agree that lots of  people making an increased minimum wage are likely to turn around and spend the extra money, thus putting it back into the economy.

Experts say that Alberta is introducing the increases gradually, which could be a saving grace as the system adjusts accordingly.  

So , now that we know Alberta is making changes in their minimum wage structure (currently $11.20. On Oct. 1, it will rise to $12.20 an hour, then to $13.60 next year and reaching $15 an hour on Oct. 1, 2018), what about the other provinces?  Let’s take a look at current minimum wages across the country:

British Columbia — Currently $10.45. On Sept. 15, it’s set to rise to $10.85. Next year, it’s expected to rise to at least $11.25.

Manitoba — $11.

New Brunswick — Currently $10.65. It’s expected to rise to $11 next year.

Newfoundland & Labrador — $10.50

Northwest Territories — $12.50

Nova Scotia — $10.70 (adjusted annually April 1 based on the consumer price index.)

Nunavut — Currently $13 (adjusted annually April 1.)

Ontario — Currently $11.25. It’s scheduled to increase to $11.40 Oct. 1.

Prince Edward Island — $10.75. It’s scheduled to increase to $11 on Oct. 1.

Quebec — $10.75.

Saskatchewan — $10.50 (adjusted annually Oct. 1 based on the consumer price index and average hourly wage.)

Yukon — $11.07 (adjusted annually April 1 based on the consumer price index.)

BOTTOM LINE: Alberta is ahead of the rest of the provinces.  Good or bad move?  Time will tell.

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