The minimum wage will increase by 75 cents to $12 an hour on May 1, Quebec announced Tuesday morning. This is more than the annual increases that Quebeckers are accustomed to.
In May 2016 and May 2017, Quebec had limited itself to increases of 50 cents.
The minimum wage for paid employees will be $9.80 per hour, an increase of 35 cents.
The government’s ultimate goal is that the minimum wage in 2020 will be half of the average hourly wage that Quebeckers will earn.
According to the most recent forecasts, the average hourly wage was expected to be $24.25 in 2018-2019.
The increase announced by the Minister responsible for Labor, Dominique Vien, will benefit, according to Quebec figures, 352 900 employees, or 214,300 women and 138,600 men.
At $12 an hour, Quebec’s minimum wage will be, on May 1st, the third highest of Canadian provinces, behind Alberta ($ 13.60) and Ontario ($14).
The increase is causing concern for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which fears that it is hurting SMEs. “This unexpected increase of 6.7% represents one and a half times what was planned for 2018,” responded CFIB spokesperson Martine Hébert.
Hébert argues that many SMEs will be under increased pressure on their payroll, which will lead them to “compensate elsewhere”, including delaying their hiring plans or increasing their prices.
The spokesperson wonders if workers at the bottom of the scale will win. “Unfortunately, even if we adhere to this goal, there are much better ways to fight against poverty,” she says.
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