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Canada: Minimum Wage Rates Increase in Québec Effective 1 May 2019

On 1 May 2019, the Regulation to amend the Regulation respecting labour standards came into force in Québec. The Regulation, which was published on 31 January 2019, raises the province’s general minimum wage rate to $12.50 per hour. This is a 50-cent increase from the previous general minimum wage rate. Similar increases have been applied to the minimum wage rates for special classes of employees under the Québec Act respecting labour standards. Of these special employee classes, most notably, the minimum wage rate for employees in the food industry who are partially compensated by gratuities has risen by 25 cents to $10.05 per hour.

Further increases to the minimum wage rate are to be expected over the next few years, as the current Québec government has stated its intention to gradually raise the minimum wage rate each year until it reaches a rate of $15.00 per hour. The proposed increases in the minimum wage rate are aimed at maintaining the purchasing power of low-wage employees in Québec while enabling these individuals to participate in the collective wealth of their community.

The new increases to minimum wage rates in Québec reflect a larger trend across Canada, as several provinces and territories have implemented minimum wage increases in the last year. For instance, the general hourly minimum wage rates in Alberta and Manitoba were increased to, respectively, $15.00 and $11.35 effective 1 October 2018. Moreover, the government of British Columbia has announced its plans to raise the general minimum wage rate in that province to $13.85 per hour effective June 1, 2019. By contrast, the Ontario government has halted a planned increase to the province’s general minimum wage rate that was scheduled to take effect in 2019, thereby maintaining a general minimum wage rate of $14.00 per hour.