Minimum wage rises in five provinces

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Thousands of workers across Canada received a raise this week, with the minimum wage increasing in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Alberta workers have seen the biggest jump with an additional $1 an hour, as the rate increases from $10.20 to $11.20. Since June, the province had been tied with Saskatchewan for the lowest minimum wage in the country.

Now, with Saskatchewan also raising its pay from $10.20 to $10.50, New Brunswick’s $10.30 an hour has become the lowest in Canada. However, The province notes that it will be raising its rate to $11 in 2017.

Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador have also increased their minimum wage rates by 25 cents, bringing Ontario’s rate up to $11.25 and Newfoundland and Labrador’s up to $10.50. Manitobans have also seen growth, with their wages rising 30 cents from $10.70 to $11.

“It’s essential to us, at Best Bargains, that we do not provide just a minimum wage to our staff – but rather a living wage,” says Anita Agrawal, CEO of Best Bargains Jewellery. “The current call for living wage is $15 per hour as supported by evidence by many unions and researchers. Seattle was recently the first municipality in North America to implement a municipal $15 per hour minimum wage. It’s absolutely impossible in a city like Toronto for anyone to survive and thrive on less. Calculate the rent, basic cost of food, transportation, etc. and you’ll see even then there is barely any ability to save for emergencies or pensions. There are many arguments to support a living wage from a business angle, primarily for the happiness of your staff which leads to loyalty and zero turnover.”

Currently, the Northwest Territories retain the highest minimum wage in the country at $12.50 an hour. This revelation comes after the $2.50 an hour increase that took effect in the country on June 1. CJ

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