It was a sad day for workers in Ontario when it was announced yesterday that the PC government was scrapping the scheduled minimum wage increase. It was supposed to go up to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019. But, that's officially no longer happening.
The increase freeze was a campaign promise from the Conservatives, who announced that the minimum wage would be staying at $14 an hour. They did not comment on when there would be more increases but did say they are doing consultations on it now.
Despite claiming to be "for the people," when they announced minimum wage wouldn't be going up, the government said it was fully intended to give businesses a break and a chance to catch up from the previous minimum wage increase, which went from $11.40 to $14 last January.
As residents of Ontario, if you're disappointed by the cancelled minimum wage increase, you aren't completely out of luck. In other provinces, the minimum wage is still scheduled to go up - some of them are going up so much that they may actually be worth moving to.
The minimum wage in Alberta is going up, and sooner than you'd think! Right now, the current minimum wage is $13.60 an hour. But, on October 1st it will be going up to $15, making it the highest minimum wage in the country. This is also what the Ontario wage was supposed to go up to, so it could definitely be worth moving out here.
2. British Columbia
BC is taking more of a slow game with their minimum wage hikes, but when they're done, they will have the highest wages in all of Canada. Over the next 5 years, the province is going to gradually raise their wage, which is currently $12.65 an hour, to $15.20 by June 2021. The increases will take place every June, with the next one going up to $13.85 on June 1, 2019.
Just like Alberta, the minimum wage in Manitoba will be going up on October 1st, but compared to the rest of the country, it's not worth packing your bags for. Their minimum wage will be increasing from $11.15 an hour to $11.35. While that 20 cents increase can make a big difference in someone's life, their minimum wage will still be lower than Ontario's was in 2017. None the less, unlike ours, their's is still going up.
Saskatchewan is the third province in Canada that will see it's minimum wage go up on Monday, but it is the lowest wage of those three. On October 1st, the minimum wage will go up 10 cents from $10.96 an hour to $11.06 an hour. According to the government, the wage in Saskatchewan increases every year on October 1st, based on the Consumer Price Index and the percentage change from the previous year. Prior to this upcoming increase, Saskatchewan had the lowest minimum wage in the country.
Just like in Saskatchewan, the people of the Yukon enjoy an annual increase to minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index. Currently, the wage is $11.51 an hour but has been steadily increasing every April 1st since 2011. The next increase will take place in April 2019, but the Yukon government won't announce how much it will be until the new year.
In most of these cases, minimum wages across Canada won't rise higher than they already are in Ontario, which as of today, is the highest in the country at $14 an hour. But, if you are really desperate for that $15 we were all promised a couple years ago, it is definitely worth considering a move out to Alberta. Or, waiting 5 years and then moving to BC.