Manitoba Daily

Friday, January 28, 2022

There is increasing pressure to raise Manitoba’s minimum wage

There is rising pressure to raise Manitoba's minimum wage

Key takeaways:

  • With Manitoba’s minimum wage set to be the second-lowest in the country, there is pressure to increase it dramatically.
  • New Brunswick said this week that it would raise the minimum wage to $13.75 per hour in two stages next year. 
  • The MFL stated that targeted business support might offset the increased costs to counter this.

With Manitoba’s minimum wage poised to be the second-lowest country, there is a demand to raise it significantly.

New Brunswick said this week that it would raise the minimum wage to $13.75 per hour in two stages next year. Manitoba would be ranked second last in the country, ahead of only Saskatchewan, ranked last at $11.81.

According to Kevin Rebeck, the minimum wage in Manitoba, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, is “embarrassing.”

Also read: Manitoba reports the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day

“I believe the idea of making it acceptable to continue to pay poverty wages needs to end,” Rebeck added.

For years, anti-poverty groups have advocated for a $15 per hour living wage. The figure is currently estimated to be around $16.

According to Josh Brandon of the Social Planning Council, Manitoba’s rate is too low.

“Far too many children are going hungry because they live in housing that is either overpriced, in bad shape, or overcrowded,” Brandon added.

Every year, Manitoba’s minimum wage is increased by a tiny amount to keep up with inflation.

CTV News received the following statement from a government spokesperson:

“Our administration remains committed to making a living more affordable for all Manitobans as we continue to address the ongoing economic and public health problems brought by COVID-19.”

A significant increase might be detrimental to firms still recovering from pandemic lockdowns.

There is rising pressure to raise Manitoba's minimum wage
There is rising pressure to raise Manitoba’s minimum wage. Image from CTV News

According to Kathleen Cook of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, any cost increase right now would be extremely difficult for small firms to absorb.

“Only a third of businesses have recovered their pre-pandemic revenues, and more than a third say they’re losing money every day they’re open,” Cook added.

The MFL stated that targeted business support might offset the increased costs to counter this.

“The government handing out these blanket funds to firms that don’t need it because they claim to be treating everyone equally is unacceptable,” Rebeck added.

According to the province, the minimum wage is paid to less than 5% of the workforce.

Source: CTV News

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