Province to boost minimum wage twice this year

But wage adjustment program to support employers ending in October

Province to boost minimum wage twice this year

Manitoba will be increasing its provincial minimum wage twice this year.

Currently standing at $15.05 per hour, the base pay will rise to $14.15 on April 1 and further increase to $15.30 by the start of October.

“Recognizing the exceptional financial challenges facing Manitobans, our government passed legislative amendments to the Employment Standards Code that, in prescribed circumstances, allow minimum wage to be increased by an additional amount above the legislated inflation-tied formula,” says Jon Reyes, minister of labour and immigration.

“To balance the financial realities of Manitoba workers and the economic challenges for small businesses, we implemented a phased-in approach that will help more Manitobans get ahead.”

The increase in October will be the last of Manitoba’s phased approach to increasing the minimum wage in the province under legislation introduced in November 2021.

The legislated inflation-tied formula ensures minimum wage is tied to economic indicators to maintain purchasing power, stability and predictability for businesses, says Reyes.

Changes to adjustment program

Also, Manitoba’s Small Business Minimum Wage Adjustment Program will be put to an end by March 31, 2023.

The government implemented the program following the October 2022 minimum wage increase in the province to support small business. 

Manitoba recently expanded the program’s eligibility to include seasonal (summer) employees, and streamlined the application and submission process to allow eligible small businesses to make a single online application to receive a one-time lump sum payment.

The federal minimum wage will also increase to $16.77 per hour starting April 1.

Union unhappy with increase

Despite the minimum wage increase in Manitoba, the $15.30 per hour still falls $3 short of a living wage, Kevin Rebeck, Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL), said in a statement, according to a CTV News report.

The living wage in Winnipeg is $18.34, Rebeck says in the report, citing the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

“Rising prices at the grocery store and in the cost of housing are making it harder for working families to make ends meet, and these high costs are hitting low-income workers the hardest,” Rebeck says, according to Global News. “Even after the minimum wage increases to $15.30 in October, there will be people who work full-time but still live in poverty in Manitoba.”

Manitoba was also previously criticized for its minimum wage increase in 2022.

Increases to the smallest amount workers can earn little to lower poverty rates and can actually hurt low-income workers, according to a previous report. Minimum wage increases can raise unemployment levels because businesses often respond by laying off workers, reducing work hours or hiring less (or not at all), according to a previous report from the Fraser Institute.

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