Manitoba plans to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2023

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson announced Thursday that the province is planning to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour starting by Oct. 1, 2023. Manitoba currently increases its minimum wage every year in line with inflation and is currently scheduled to raise it to $12.35 an hour in October.

The government of Manitoba plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 by October 2023, Premier Heather Stefanson announced Thursday.

The premier noted the government will soon begin consultations with small businesses on the effects of this change.

An additional increase to the minimum wage could create pressure on Manitoba’s small businesses.

“As we continue to grow our economy, we want to attract more workers and high-quality investments to our province. We are committed to working with our business community to address the impacts of this wage increase and find workable solutions together,” said Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen.

The government will also be consulting with the industry regarding support programs to help businesses adjust to higher payroll costs.

“Our government recognizes the financial challenges many Manitobans are facing as a result of global inflationary pressures,” said Stefanson.

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“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.”

Earlier this spring, in recognition of exceptionally high inflation, the Manitoba government passed amendments to the Employment Standards Code to increase the minimum wage above the rate of inflation, the premier noted.

Manitoba currently increases its minimum wage every year in line with inflation, and it was scheduled to rise to $12.35 an hour in October but instead, it will increase to $13.50 from $11.95.

This will still keep Manitoba’s minimum wage at the second lowest in Canada.

“No one should work full-time but still live in poverty. 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,” said Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck, in a statement.

In keeping with the expected consumer price index increase for 2022, the next indexed adjustment will bring Manitoba’s minimum wage to around $15 for Oct. 1, 2023, the premier added.

“This wage increase will provide much-needed support to hard-working Manitobans who have been burdened by soaring cost-of-living increases,” said Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister Reg Helwer.

“Manitobans have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are committed to relieving some of the financial strain.”

Kate Kehler of the Social Planning Council noted the 13 per cent wage increase is necessary, even though it will be tough on small businesses that only have a month to prepare.

“This is what we have to do,” she told 680 CJOB. “Had businesses not fought it for so long, perhaps the jump wouldn’t be so tough on them now because they would have actually built it into their business plan.”

Kehler is pleased the province will provide support for small businesses.

In a release from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba director Molly McCracken said wage increase isn’t enough.

“This amount is entirely insufficient for minimum wage workers to survive upon giving soaring food, shelter and other costs,” she said. “Data showed Manitoba should have had a $15 minimum wage back in 2018, we are hugely behind with the schedule announced today.”

According to the release, $16.15 per hour was the Winnipeg living wage in 2020 prior to sharp inflationary increases.

The CCPA will be updating the living wage for 2022 based on most recent statistics.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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