2019-09-015_thumb
2019-09-015_thumb This article is more than 1 year old
News

Statistics Canada: Percentage of Canadian Workers Earning Minimum Wage Has Doubled Since 1998

New data from Statistics Canada upends right-wing stereotypes about minimum wage workers

Welcome to the new economy.

A new study quietly released by Statistics Canada finds that between 1998 and 2018, the percentage of Canadians with minimum wage has doubled, with one-in-three minimum wage workers also holding postsecondary degrees.

The data stands in stark contrast to the narratives pushed by right-wing think tanks and other business groups opposed to minimum wage increases who falsely claim the majority of minimum wage workers are teens working at mom and pop shops.

Statistics Canada

According to Statistics Canada’s data, in 1998, 5.2% of all Canadian workers had minimum wage jobs. Twenty years later in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, that percentage doubled to 10.4%.

That rise wasn’t steady either — in 2017-2018, the share of minimum wage workers rose from 6.4% to 10.4%.

Statistics Canada

According to Statistics Canada, that spike came from a rapid increase in minimum wage workers in Ontario — Canada’s most populous and wealthiest province — where nearly 15% of the workforce depends on the minimum wage.

The data also proves minimum wage workers in 2018 are not low-skilled teens.

Nearly half (47.7%) of Canada’s minimum wage workers are over the age of 25. And a little over one-third (34.9%) had a post-secondary diploma or above.

There has also been an explosion of minimum wage jobs at large companies.

From 1998 to 2018, the proportion of Canada’s large firm employees earning the minimum wage more than doubled from 3.4% to 9.4%.

Meanwhile, the share at medium-sized firms rose from 4.8% to 9.7%, and it rose from 9.7% to 14.2% at small firms.

Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada commented: “These observations point to a potential erosion of the large-firm wage premium over time.

During this erosion, however, Canada’s largest corporations continued to gobble up assets. As PressProgress reported, the most powerful 0.8% of Canada’s corporations classified as multinational enterprises controlled two-thirds of all assets in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. 

 

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.

 

Support Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

worker Explainer

Ontario PC MPP Floats Idea of Replacing Teachers With Pre-Recorded Videos To Cut Education Costs

Related Stories

News

Neo-Nazi was a Guest at a Swanky Fundraising Dinner for a Right-Wing Charity That Tried to Dig Up Dirt on a Canadian Judge

View the post
News

Conservative Candidate Says He’s ‘Willing to Work’ With Far-Right Anti-Lockdown Politicians Despite ‘Party Differences’

View the post
News

Company Hired to Manage Ontario’s COVID-19 School Reopening Highlighted Business Opportunities for Private Education Providers

View the post

Explainers

Work & rights

Liz Walker and Shanice Regis-Wilkins

What Is Sectoral Bargaining and How Can It Help Canada’s Working Class?

View the post

Emma Arkell

Why Is The Pandemic’s Economic Harm Disproportionately Impacting Young Women?

View the post
Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Canada is Holding an Emergency Summit to Take Action Against Islamophobia. Here’s What’s at Stake for Canadian Muslims.

View the post