Highest minimum wage announced for Canada

$3-per-hour increase pushes wage to $19 per hour

Highest minimum wage announced for Canada

Nunavut will soon have the highest minimum wage in all of Canada.

The territorial government has announced minimum wage will jump to $19 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2024, up from the current $16 per hour rate.

“We recognize that the minimum wage needs to work for employers and employees and reflect the realities of living and working in Nunavut,” said David Akeeagok, minister of justice. “I am confident that the increase strikes the appropriate balance for our territory, while also helping to address the impact of inflation and cost of living increases for those earning minimum wage in Nunavut.”

The Department of Justice recommended the rate increase after a comprehensive survey and consultations with businesses and employees during the summer of 2023.

The last increase to Nunavut’s minimum wage was on April 1, 2020, when it rose from $13.00 to $16.00 per hour.

Currently, the territory’s Department of Justice is reviewing a new method of calculating the minimum wage to allow for annual incremental increases. This will provide “greater certainty to Nunavut businesses while helping Nunavummiut keep up with costs,” said the government.

Prince Edward Island will increase the minimum wage rate in the province twice in 2024.

Is $3-per-hour increase enough?

Despite the $3-increase, a couple of stakeholders are criticizing the government’s new minimum wage.

“Yes, Nunavut will have the highest minimum wage in Canada. But, let's not forget the insane costs for food,” said Chad Hayohok, Caseworker at Kugluktuk men's shelter, via Facebook. “Even though we have Nutrition North, it still costs an arm and a leg to buy [two] weeks’ worth of groceries.”

The increase means an “extra 120 bucks a week before deductions” and that is “not enough,” said Iqaluit resident Wendy Lee on the same thread.

“$3 times 8 hours times 5 days equals $120. After deduction, [it] ain’t much.”

However, “steps that help improve income are generally going to have a positive effect,” said Duane Wilson, vice-president of stakeholder relations for Arctic Co-op, in a Nunatsiaq News report.

“Food security, at the root of it, is an income issue,” said Wilson.

19.5 million – that’s the number of Canadians currently facing financial vulnerability, according to a previous report from the Financial Resilience Institute.

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