The province will increase the minimum wage by 50 cents to $9.50 an hour on Oct. 1, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.
“This increase will help maintain the spending power of approximately 28,000 people working in minimum-wage jobs,” said Howard. “The improved wage will give them a fairer income while helping Manitoba businesses recruit and retain workers.”
The minimum wage rate last increased by 25 cents to $9 per hour on Oct. 1, 2009, following an additional 25-cent increase on May 1, 2009.
The Labour Management Review Committee (LMRC), composed of equal representatives from labour and business organizations, reviewed the minimum wage and submitted a non-consensus report with recommendations ranging from a 30-cent increase to be effective Oct. 1 to a 75-cent increase to be effective April 1.
The timing of the increase is sensitive to employer concerns about the effect of increasing costs during the recovery from the recession. The LMRC also concluded that historically minimum wage increases have not been the predominant factor causing unemployment in Manitoba.
“While minimum wage increases do raise costs for business, it is important to keep in mind that tax decreases since 1999 will save Manitoba firms $422 million annually,” Howard said. “In December, Manitoba will be the first province to have eliminated its small business tax.”
With this increase to the minimum wage, Manitoba will maintain its position near the middle of Canadian rates. Regular increases to the minimum wage are an important factor in reducing poverty and are part of ALL Aboard, Manitoba’s poverty reduction strategy, said the minister.