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Manitoba's minimum wage is increasing

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The minimum wage in Manitoba is increasing to $15.30 this October; however, one group is saying it still comes up short.

On Wednesday, the Manitoba government announced that it would be increasing the minimum wage twice in 2023. This includes a 65-cent increase on April 1, 2023, to $14.15 and then a further $1.15 increase on Oct. 1, 2023, to $15.30.

The province notes these increases will put Manitoba in the top three of provincial minimum wages.

In recognition of current financial challenges, Labour and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes said the government passed legislative amendments to the Employment Standards Code that allows the minimum wage to be increased above the legislated inflation-tied formula.

“To balance the financial realities of Manitoba workers and the economic challenges for small businesses, we implemented a phased-in approach that will help more Manitobans get ahead,” he said in a news release.

Despite this increase means Manitoba will have one of the highest minimum wages of any province, the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) is concerned that it still isn’t enough.

In a statement, MFL president Kevin Rebeck said a minimum wage of $15.30 still falls $3 short of a living wage, which is the wage workers need to be able to meet their basic needs.

Rebeck said that the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba has calculated that the living wage in Winnipeg is $18.34.

“That means that even after the minimum wage increases to $15.30 in October, there will be people who work full-time but still live in poverty in Manitoba,” he said.

Rebeck noted that the government’s formula for minimum wage increases was put in place in 2016 and began with a base rate of $11. Although minimum wage has been indexed to inflation since 2016, Rebeck said it remains below the poverty line and won’t rise above it unless it is “significantly rebased.”

“The Stefanson government’s funding formula keeps people in poverty, and will never lift them out,” he said.

“It is an insult to basic human dignity to have Manitobans working full-time and still living in poverty.”

Reyes said the inflation-tied formula ensures Manitoba’s minimum wage is linked to economic indicators.

Wednesday’s minimum wage announcement comes after Manitoba increased the minimum wage to $13.50 on Oct. 1, 2022. 

More information on Manitoba’s minimum wage can be found online. 

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