2019-09-015_thumb
2019-09-015_thumb This article is more than 3 years 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. 

 

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
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

A4C News

Pierre Poilievre Claims He’s a Friend of the ‘Working Class’. He’s Spent Years Attacking Canadian Workers.

Related Stories

News

Christian Nationalists Are Organizing Against LGBTQ Education Resources in Schools

View the post
News

5,000 Winnipeg City Workers Poised to Strike for the First Time in a Century

View the post
News

TELUS Wanted Workers to Stay Quiet About Off-Shoring Practice to Protect Its Image, Documents Show

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Newspapers always have a business section – why not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers