Minimum wages across Canada 2019 – 2020

If you aren’t making at least this much an hour by province, something may be amiss.

Minimum wages across Canada 2019 – 2020


If you’re earning minimum wage and think you’re at the bottom of the food chain, don’t feel lonely. Nearly 1.6 million Canadians – that’s about 10% of all salaried employees – took home the lowest hourly wage legally payable to most people.

By late 2019 the average minimum wage in Canada was about $12.63 per hour. That compares to $11.41 in 2017 and an increase of nearly 11%. More impressive is the jump of over a third vs. 2010, when the average minimum was $9.25. 

Alberta had the highest minimum rate at $15.00/hr by late 2019. Saskatchewan was the lowest at $11.32/hr.


Who Sets The Rate?

Under Canada’s Constitution, enacting and enforcing labour laws (including minimum wage) rests individually with the ten provinces and three territories. They’ve got this power by federal legislation.

Every year each province and territory reviews its current rate. The political party in charge decides on whether to bump up the wage or keep it stagnant. Factors such as inflation, unemployment, politics and happenings in other jurisdictions get figured.


Minimum Wage Late 2019


  Minimum Hourly Wage





  British Columbia






  New Brunswick



  Newfoundland & Labrador



  Northwest Territories



  Nova Scotia









  Prince Edward Island












Expected Rate Changes in 2020

In B.C., the minimum wage will rise by 75 cents to $14.60 on June 1st, 2020. Then again, to at least $15.20 on June 1st, 2021. New Brunswick’s rate is adjusted annually on April 1st yearly relative to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), as does the Yukon. Nunavut adjusts its rate on that same day. 

For Nova Scotia in 2020 and 2021, the wage will increase by about 55 cents each year. Ontario’s eligible for a tweak every October 1st as of 2020. Saskatchewan is too, and it uses CPI as the measure.


Exemptions From The Basic Minimum Wage Rates

Minimum wage laws don’t cover millions of Canadian workers. Self-employed workers and independent contractors don’t qualify. Students in training programs and specific internships either. Supervisory and managerial employees, registered apprentices and salespeople paid exclusively by the commission are also usually excluded.

Most provinces have their own rules that either kybosh some kinds of workers from minimum wage coverage or allow lower minimum rates for some.

Check your province’s laws for exemptions for employees who -

  • serve alcohol or otherwise accept tips
  • domestic workers, or live-in care workers
  • are foresters, loggers, or construction workers
  • have unverifiable hours


Who Earns Minimum Wage?

A bit more than one in three minimum wage workers has a post-secondary degree or above. Nearly 60 percent of minimum rate earners are young folk aged 15 to 24, and almost as large a share of them lives with a family. Women represent disproportionately in low wage jobs – fully one-third earn less than $15/hr, compared to only 22% of men.