In 2013, the average minimum wage in Canada amounted to $10.14 per hour. The 1975 minimum wage translated into 2013 dollars (that is, the real minimum wage) was almost identical at $10.13.
In this release, the real minimum wage for Canada is a weighted average of the provincial minimum wages, expressed in 2013 constant dollars to account for inflation.
Although the real minimum wage in Canada was nearly identical in 1975 and 2013, it varied between these two years.
Between 1975 and 1986, the real minimum wage declined from $10.13 to $7.53, before increasing to $8.81 in 1996. Up to 2003, the real minimum wage remained stable at around $8.50.
Since 2003, the real minimum wage increased by almost two dollars, from $8.27 in 2003 to $10.14 in 2013. All provinces saw increases in the real minimum wage over that period.
Recent increases in the ratio of minimum wage to average hourly earnings
When looking at changes over time, the minimum wage is sometimes expressed as a ratio of the average hourly earnings. The value of the average hourly earnings can vary, depending on the source and type of employees covered in labour surveys.
One commonly used source for long-term wage trends is the average hourly earnings of employees paid by the hour in the Survey of Employment, Payrolls, and Hours.
In 2013, the average hourly earnings of employees paid by the hour in this survey amounted to $22.27. This means that the average minimum wage corresponded to 46% of the average hourly earnings.
In recent years, the ratio of the average minimum wage to average hourly earnings increased from 41% in 2005 to 46% in 2013. This is because the average minimum wage rose faster than the average hourly earnings (in constant 2013 dollars).
Prior to 2005, the ratio fluctuated between 38% and 45%. These changes were mainly the result of variations in the real minimum wage, since the average real hourly earnings varied little over the period.