Canada’s Federal Minimum Wage Increase 2024 – Everything Employers Need to Know

  • Minimum wage
telecommunications technician on telephone pole
Charlie Herrera Vacaflor

Charlie Herrera Vacaflor, Employment Law & HR Content Senior Consultant

(Last updated )

On April 1, 2024, Canada’s federal minimum wage increased to $17.30 per hour from $16.65 per hour. This wage increase is in line with Canada’s annual inflation rate and adjusted based on Canada’s Consumer Price Index from 2023 (3.9%). 

In December 2021, changes to Canada’s Labour Code established a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour and introduced an annual increase in line with inflation. The first increase took place on April 1, 2022. 

What is minimum wage? 

Minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer can legally pay their employee. Employers are free to pay more but they cannot pay less than the minimum wage outlined in the Employment Standards Act (ESA). 

Full-time, part-time, interns, casual employees or those paid an hourly rate, commission, piece rate, flat rate or salary, are eligible for minimum wage. If a worker’s pay is based entirely or partly on commission, it must amount to at least the minimum wage for each hour the employee has worked. 

However, some workers in healthcare, hospitality services, transportation and other industries are exempt from the minimum wage provisions of the ESA. 

What is federal minimum wage?  

Federal minimum wage in Canada is the lowest hourly wage a federally regulated employer can pay their employees under the law. The Federally Regulated Private Sector (FRPS) include those employed within the transportation, banking and telecommunications industry, among others.  

Is federal minimum wage for everyone? 

The federal minimum wage is not for everyone, and only applies to federally regulated employees. The provincial or general minimum wage typically carries a lower rate per hour than the federal minimum wage. However, the April 2024 minimum wage increase carries some exceptions to this rule. 

What happens if the minimum wage in your province is higher? 

If the minimum wage set by the province or territory is greater than the federal minimum wage, federally regulated employers must pay the provincial or territorial wage rate. 

What’s the highest minimum wage in Canada? 

To attract more skilled workers to the territories, the governments of Nunavut and Yukon increased the territorial minimum wage to match the realities of living in these territories. Nunavut’s territorial minimum wage has been increased to $19.00 per hour from $16.00 per hour. Yukon’s territorial minimum wage is now $17.59 per hour from $16.77 per hour.  

As of April 1, 2024, Nunavut and Yukon are the only territories to have a higher territorial wage than the federal minimum wage. Hence, federal workers in these territories are entitled to $19.00 per hour and $17.59 per hour, respectively.  

Do you have questions about the federal minimum wage increase? 

Our experts can help you with any questions related to employee pay and assist you with any HR, health and safety or employment advice you may need. 

As a trusted HR and health & safety consulting company, Peninsula serves over 6,500 small businesses across Canada. Peninsula’s clients receive ongoing updates of their workplace documentation and policies as legislation changes. They also benefit from 24/7 employer HR advice and are supported by legal assistance. 

To learn more about how our services can benefit your business, call an expert today at 1 (833) 247-3652. 

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