Quality, dependable jobs are a driver of a strong economy. Canada’s prosperity and stability depend on every Canadian having a fair chance to succeed. Yet, some Canadians find themselves working part-time, temporary or low-wage jobs—sometimes more than one—in order to support themselves and their families.
In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada proposed to establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, rising with inflation. Today, the Government is announcing that this important change will come into effect on December 29, 2021, following Royal Assent to Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1. The changes will affect workers in the federally regulated private sector and represent an important step towards reducing poverty and inequality.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the essential work done by low-wage workers. Airline agents helped stranded Canadians get back to the country, bank tellers helped us handle the financial impacts of business closures, and workers in the trucking industry got produce and essential goods into our neighbourhood stores. Without them, the last year would have looked very different.
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. Unions and labour groups have also played an important part in raising awareness about the importance of such measures, which will help improve the lives of low-wage workers and their families.
As we look to Canada’s economic recovery from this pandemic, this is an important step forward to ensure that we build back better.