Consultations will be held with small businesses to monitor the effects of this change.
The first stage of this increase will allow employees to receive a salary of $13.50 as of October 1 of this year.
Our government knows the financial challenges many Manitobans face due to global inflationsays Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson.
Heather Stefanson acknowledges that Manitoba lags behind other provinces when it comes to wages.
We know wages must be competitive to attract and retain new workers and immigrants to Manitobasaid the Prime Minister.
Manitoba’s minimum wage was originally set to rise to $12.35 on Oct. 1, based on the current formula for indexing wage increases to inflation.
That would have been the lowest minimum wage in the country, with Saskatchewan set to raise its minimum wage to $13 an hour in October.
This new target of $13.50 was decided after consultations with unions and businesses.
A second minimum wage increase will take effect April 1, 2023. Manitobans will earn an additional 65 cents, to $14.15 an hour.
A hard-to-find deal
The Conservative government asked the union-management review panel to recommend a new, higher minimum wage, but failed to reach agreement.
The group representing management wanted a wage between $13 and $14 an hour, while the unions wanted $16.15. According to these unions, this sum represents a living wage in Manitoba, as determined by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.
Unions will always be on one side and management on the other. We believe that the chosen approach is fair and balanced to become a competitive territory in the countryexplains Heather Stefanson.
Negotiators are not convinced
The reactions were not long in coming following this announcement and the various parties who were seated at the negotiating table are not convinced of the result.
At the gas pump, at the grocery store, inflation is hitting people hard right now. Saying that in a year, workers will receive a minimum wage, which should have already been aligned a long time ago with what the other provinces offer, will not be enough for familiesassures the president of the Manitoba Federation of Labor, Kevin Rebeck.
The president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Loren Rémillard, is not won over by the news either. On the other hand, he rather believes that this change is too abrupt for companies.
This announcement represents a 25% increase in costs for businesses, already hard hit by COVID-19, explains Mr. Rémillard. An increase was expected but these businesses need the government to cushion the cost through direct financial support.
The professor of economics at the University of Saint-Boniface, Faiçal Zellama, notes that this salary increase will not only be beneficial for the employees.
With government support, companies can bear the pressure of these new costs which, in the medium term, will generate gains. There will be more engagement and better labor availability, which will avoid recruitment costsbelieves Mr. Zellama.
However, Mr. Zellama also deplores the announced delays.
Unfortunately, the Conservative government has decided to buy time by waiting for October 2023, but this is a missed opportunity for Manitobans.
For her part, Ms. Stefanson, however, appealed to the federal government of Justin Trudeau to help citizens deal with inflation now.
The Prime Minister notably asked her Canadian counterpart to suspend the carbon tax, in order to allow the population to cope with inflation.
With information from Anne-Louise Michel and Maad Chaara