(Jan. 21/18): On January 17, the Quebec government announced that it will raise the provincial minimum wage by $0.75, for a total of $12/hour, on May 1.
In 2017, the provincial government announced its plans to raise the minimum wage each year for the next four years and the formulas it would use to determine how much wages would increase by. Instead of relying on CPI and other classical metrics, the government said that the raises in the minimum wage would be calculated as a percentage of the average hourly rate in Quebec. In 2018, the minimum wage is 48% of the average provincial wage and is projected to increase by 1% each year going forward. Its target is for the minimum wage to be 50% of the average wage in the province by 2020.
The provincial government said it will continuously monitor and re-evaluate the projected minimum wage v. average wage ratio to determine yearly minimum wage increases to ensure a balanced result.
The labour minister’s office said that it would retain the power to adjust and increase the minimum wage on a yearly basis and that depending on the average wage for any given year, the minimum wage could be adjusted downward in case there is an economic downturn.
The original projections stated that minimum wage would only increase by $0.50/hour and have 2018’s provincial minimum wage at $11.75/hour. The higher increase is due to the fact that the projected hourly average wage for 2018-2019 was $23.73/hour, but is actually $24.25/hour.
Restaurants Canada spoke with government officials who said that maintaining the projected minimum wage to average wage ratio is justified due to the current economic expansion, average wages increase, having the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years and labour shortages in various part of the economy.
The Quebec government also announced it will increase the spread between the minimum wage for tipped and non-tipped workers and raise it from 16% to 20%. The minimum wage for tipped and non-tipped employees will increase to $9.80/hour on May 1.
The government also reiterated its commitment to the current formula and that it has no intention of increasing the provincial minimum wage to $15/hour as some other provinces have done.