WINNIPEG — Manitoba will increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour by October 2023.
Premier Heather Stefanson made the announcement Thursday, saying the province will soon begin consultations with small businesses surrounding gradual wage increases.
Manitoba’s minimum wage is currently $11.95 an hour, which is the second-lowest in Canada behind Saskatchewan. Our prairie neighbours to the immediate west will increase their minimum hourly wage to $13 in October. At the same time, Manitoba’s wage will rise to $13.50 on October 1.
The province also plans to increase it again by 65 cents per hour on April 1, 2023, raising the minimum wage to $14.15 per hour by next spring.
“This phased-in approach will ensure small businesses remain strong and continue to grow while helping workers and their families get ahead by earning bigger paycheques,” Stefanson said.
“Our balanced approach to increasing the minimum wage will help workers make ends meet while also recognizing the concerns of small businesses who are struggling during this difficult time.”
Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government had been criticized for not doing enough to ensure minimum wage workers can keep up with the cost of inflation and other rising economic expenses.
Manitoba Federation of Labour president Kevin Rebeck says the hourly wage increase doesn’t go far enough.
“No one should work full-time but still live in poverty,” Rebeck said. “But that is the reality for thousands of workers in our province because the Stefanson government has kept our minimum wage far too low for workers to be able to make ends meet.
“Working families who rely on minimum wage work were looking for a much higher increase to Manitoba’s minimum wage today. Instead, the Stefanson government has decided that Manitoba should go from having the second-lowest minimum wage in the country right now to staying the second-lowest minimum wage in the country on October 1. The planned minimum wage of $13.50 this year will fall well short of what working families need to make ends meet.”
The MFL is advocating for $16.15 per hour based on the last available calculation of a living wage.
The Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is also slamming the proposed wage increase.
“This amount is entirely insufficient for minimum wage workers to survive upon giving soaring food, shelter and other costs,” said Molly McCracken, CCPA Manitoba director.
“Data showed Manitoba should have had a $15 minimum wage back in 2018, we are hugely behind with the schedule announced today.”