Hourly minimum wage of $15 for federally regulated private sector in effect by end of December

Sector covers interprovincial and international transportation, telecommunications, banking

Hourly minimum wage of $15 for federally regulated private sector in effect by end of December

Employment and Social Development Canada has announced a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour for workers in the federally regulated private sector, set to take effect on Dec. 29, following royal assent of Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1.

The federally regulated private sector under parts I, II, III and IV of the Canada Labour Code covers the following:

  • air transportation, including airlines, airports, aerodromes and aircraft operations
  • banks, including authorized foreign banks
  • grain elevators, feed and seed mills, feed warehouses and grain-seed cleaning plants
  • first Nations band councils, including some community services on reserve
  • most federal Crown corporations, including Canada Post Corporation
  • port services, marine shipping, ferries, tunnels, canals, bridges and oil and gas pipelines that cross international or provincial borders
  • radio and television broadcasting
  • railways that cross provincial or international borders and certain short-line railways
  • road transportation services, including trucks and buses, which cross provincial or international borders
  • telecommunications, including telephone, Internet, telegraph and cable systems
  • uranium mining and processing and atomic energy
  • any business vital, essential or integral to the operation of one of the aforementioned activities

“Thousands of hard-working Canadians will see their incomes rise to at least $15 per hour as a result of this change, helping them with things like groceries, rent, sports or extracurricular activities for their kids,” said Filomena Tassi, federal labour minister, in a news release.

Tassi said that the changes introduced by the new legislation seek to strengthen Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, to help address poverty and inequality and to promote the well-being of lower-income families and communities.

The new measure also aligns with recent changes to ensure robust and modern labour standards for employees in the federally regulated private sector and with awareness-raising efforts by unions and labour groups about the importance of such changes in bettering the lives of low-wage workers and their families.

In the news release, the federal government recognized that, despite the importance of quality, dependable jobs for all, some Canadians end up working one or more part-time, temporary or low-wage jobs to support themselves and their families.

In 2019, the Expert Panel on Modern Federal Labour Standards, which researched and consulted on labour standards protections for non-standard workers, the “right to disconnect” beyond work hours, the access and portability of benefits and a collective voice for non-unionized workers, recommended a freestanding federal minimum wage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the importance of the essential work of low-wage workers, such as airline agents, bank tellers and trucking industry workers. Thus, the federal budget for 2021 included a proposal for a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, which would rise with inflation.

Bill C-30, or An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, received royal assent on June 29 and took effect on July 1. The bill was first announced in the 2019 federal budget, while its draft was released last Nov. 30. Chrystia Freeland, deputy prime minister and federal finance minister, sponsored the bill.

The bill’s passage aims to enact the federal government’s budget plan to finish the battle against COVID-19, to promote jobs and to work toward a robust economic recovery for all Canadians.

“This is a critical step on our journey to heal the wounds of COVID and get us all back to work so our economy can come roaring back,” said Freeland in a news release.

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