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Attention Federal Employers: New $15/Hour Minimum Wage Incoming

A new federal minimum wage of $15 per hour was included in the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1.  It will come into effect on December 29, 2021 and will apply to workers in the federally regulated private sector.

Currently, federally regulated employees are subject to the minimum wage of the province or territory in which they are typically employed. Accordingly, federal employers could have employees occupying the same position but compensated differently because they are employed in different provinces or territories.

After December 29, 2021, no federally regulated employee may be paid less than $15 per hour.

Further, the Canada Labour Code has been amended to provide that if the minimum wage of a province or territory is higher than the federal minimum wage, then the employer must pay a minimum wage that is not less than the higher minimum wage. This is currently only applicable to employers in Nunavut (minimum wage is currently $16 per hour), British Columbia (minimum wage is currently $15.20 per hour), and the Northwest Territories (minimum wage will be increasing to $15.20 as of September 1, 2021).

This change may increase an employer’s costs related to total compensation, impact the employer’s at-source deductions, and result in potential wage scale compression where employees are paid on a progressive scale.  It may also impact an employer’s pay equity obligations.  Employers should therefore identify any employees receiving an hourly wage lower than $15 as this will help ensure compliance as of December 29, 2021 and allow for an opportunity to assess the economic and other impacts of the change.   

If you have any questions about the new federal minimum wage, or any questions relating to workplace law in the federal sector generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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