Manitoba fails to adequately raise Minimum Wage

August 18, 2022

For Immediate Release (Winnipeg): The Manitoba government’s minimum wage announcement today will not cover the massive cost of living increases low-income workers face in 2022.

The Manitoba government announced today it will increase the minimum wage from $11.95 per hour to $13.50 per hour on October 1st, 2022.  In 2021 there were 23,400 Manitobans earning minimum wage, or below minimum wage according to Statistics Canada. The majority are adults and females. Minimum wage workers are more likely to be racialized as well.

“This amount is entirely insufficient for minimum wage workers to live on given soaring food, shelter and energy costs. Data showed Manitoba should have had a $15 minimum wage back in 2018, we are set further behind by the schedule announced today.” says Molly McCracken, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) Manitoba director. 

The Winnipeg living wage was $16.15 per hour in 2020, before inflationary cost increases took hold in 2021/2022. The living wage calculation methodology is used across Canada, led by the CCPA, and reflects the wage required to cover basic costs of living in a particular community. It is the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs once government transfers have been added to a family’s income.

The pandemic has shown that governments can respond quickly to help people in economic need. The Manitoba government did little in terms of government transfers to help working people during COVID and now is failing to act to raise the minimum wage to a living wage.

Our office is updating the living wage for 2022 based on the most recent statistics. This will be launched by the end of August, with a date to be announced next week. The 2022 living wage is higher than the 2020 living wage of $16.15. Given the continued cost of living increases, we can expect the living wage to rise again in 2023. Manitoba’s minimum wage must be increased substantially higher and faster to help working families with the higher cost of living.  

This announcement demonstrates that the Manitoba government is ignoring research that shows businesses adjust to increases in the minimum wage. Minimum wage increases have little to no effect on overall employment except a small reduction amongst young minimum wage workers. Positive earnings effects for minimum wage workers add to overall economic output and GDP. 

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