Manitoba government introduces bill to enact promised minimum wage increase

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government has introduced a bill in the legislature to formally enact a raise in the minimum wage.

The wage is normally adjusted every October in line with the inflation rate of the previous year, but the province announced in the summer the wage would rise higher to deal with a sudden spike in the cost of living.

The government raised the wage to $13.50 an hour last month and promised to raise it to $14.15 an hour in April, and to $15 an hour Oct. 1.

The bill, if passed into law, would fulfil that commitment.

"This phased-in approach to raising the minimum wage would help relieve some of the economic pressures on Manitoba workers while lessening the impact on small businesses’ bottom lines as much as possible," Labour Minister Reg Helwer said Friday in a news release.

Some labour groups have said the raise is not enough.

The Manitoba Federation of Labour has called for a minimum wage of $16.15 an hour immediately.

The Progressive Conservative government also recently announced a subsidy for employers to soften the blow of the wage hike.

Businesses with up to 20 workers can apply for a subsidy of up to 50 cents an hour for each worker earning minimum wage. It is a temporary program that expires on March 31.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press