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Federal minimum wage increase set for end of year

July 8, 2021

A $15 per hour federal minimum wage for Canada has officially been approved in Ottawa. The change will affect workers in the federally regulated private sector starting Dec. 29, 2021.

“Every worker deserves dignity and honest pay for a hard day’s work. Our government has moved forward with a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage because we know that it is a powerful tool when it comes to fighting poverty and improving the well-being of lower-income families and communities as a whole,” says Filomena Tassi, minister of labour.

In April, Ottawa said it was setting aside a huge chunk of its 2021 Budget to provide better wages, benefits and protections for Canadian workers.

A freestanding federal minimum wage was recommended by the Expert Panel on Modern Federal Labour Standards in 2019. It also aligns with recent changes that ensure employees in the federally regulated private sector have a robust and modern set of labour standards that reflect the realities of 21st century workplaces, according to the government.

Unions back decision
A federal minimum wage that is set at no less than $15 per hour, and indexed to grow in subsequent years, is a critical need for Canada’s pandemic-stricken economy, according to Unifor, in encouraging people to sign a petition for the increase in 2020.

“Some argue that due to the devastating economic toll COVID-19 has taken, minimum wages should remain static – to avoid additional financial burden on business. In fact, the current economic downturn is the very reason Canada should boost the wages for its lowest paid workers. Doing so will ensure that people have the additional income they need to spend on necessities, support local businesses and stimulate job creation. Higher minimum wages help lift thousands of workers out of poverty.”

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