Manitoba’s minimum wage goes up by 25 cents to $10.70 an hour Oct. 1.
Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun said in a statement today the increase will be the 14th straight year the minimum wage has gone up.
"This most recent increase builds on our long-term plan to provide the lowest wage earners increased purchasing power so they can better provide for themselves and their families," Braun said.
The increase of 25 cents per hour brings the current minimum wage to $10.70 from $10.45. It will put Manitoba the fourth-highest among other Canadian jurisdictions. Ontario raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour effective June 1. Saskatchewan will increase its minimum wage from $10 to $10.20 per hour effective Oct. 1.
Opposition Leader Brian Pallister and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the wage hike will do little to put more money in the pockets of minimum-wage earners.
"Manitoba small businesses, and especially those in the retail and hospitality sectors, are disappointed the provincial government is making it once again harder to create jobs and do business in Manitoba," Elliot Sims, CFIB’s Manitoba director of provincial affairs said in a statement. "Entrepreneurs are supportive of efforts to reduce poverty in Manitoba, but today’s announcement will do little to make that happen."
Pallister and the CFIB said to help low wage earners the government should reform provincial income tax system by raising the basic personal exemption.
Pallister said when a minimum wage is raised too aggressively, it in turn reduces the number of entry-level jobs.
"There’s only so many dollars in the pools for payroll," he said, adding business has also been hurt by last year’s increase to the provincial sales tax.
Sims said Manitoba’s basic personal exemption (BPE) of $9,134 is the fourth lowest among the provinces.
He said since 2004, the minimum wage has increased 53 per cent, while the BPE has increased only 20 per cent.
Sims said after the Oct. 1 rate increase, Manitoba’s minimum wage earners will make 50 cents per hour more than their counterparts in Saskatchewan, but will see just 12.6 cents per hour more in take home pay after deduction of provincial income taxes.