Canadian money.

“Fair and Balanced Approach” to Minimum Wage Increase in Manitoba


Written by Sipy Brar

The minimum wage is the lowest amount, per hour, that employers need to pay their employees in Manitoba.[1] With ever so increasing costs of living, a minimum wage increase comes as no surprise. At the beginning of the year amendments were made to the Employment Standards Code to increase minimum wage to exceed the rate of inflation.[2]

While the minimum wage increase in Manitoba is in response to the financial challenges that Manitobans are enduring due to the “global inflationary pressures” and the phased in approach is to limit the impact on businesses; the increase will undoubtedly put a strain on Manitoba’s small businesses and organizations.[3] The minimum wage increase will result in immediate increases in costs for businesses to operate. This typically leaves business with the choice to either cut down on staff and hours to reduce costs or to increase their prices. Some may even have to make the decision of shutting down for good.[4]

All employees are required to receive minimum wage in Manitoba. The exception to this are employees that are not covered by provincial employment standards and employees that are excluded by the legislation. These include domestic workers who work less than 12 hours a week, employees that are in an approved provincial or federal training program, election officials, enumerators, and any other temporary person appointed under The Elections Act.[5]

While the set minimum wage rates apply in residential construction and building maintenance, there are separate Construction minimum wage rates for the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) and Heavy Sectors can be found in The Construction Industry Wages Act.[6]

Effective October 1, 2022, the Government of Manitoba has announced that, Manitoba’s minimum wage will increase from $11.95 to $13.50 per hour, placing Manitoba’s minimum wage rate at the second lowest in the country. The province will see an additional increase from $13.50 to $14.50 per hour effective April 1, 2023, with another increase planned for October 1, 2023, which will bring the minimum wage in Manitoba to $15.00 per hour.[7]

The Manitoba government recognizes the risk this increase poses and will be working with businesses and organizations at risk to put in place support programs that will allow them to absorb the impact of the minimum wage increase while they are already struggling with the impacts of the pandemic and supply chain issues.[8]

According to Heather Stefanson, the current increase is meant to act as a “fair and balanced approach”. While it is recognized that there needs to be a response to the increasing cost of living it is said that “there needs to be a balance between having a competitive minimum wage and recognizing that employers faced serious economic challenges though the Covid-19 pandemic, and that they continue to deal with the financial aftermath of operating restrictions and labour shortages.”[9]

Business representatives maintained a position of wanting the minimum wage to be from $13 to $14 per hour, whereas labour representatives wanted a living wage of $16.15 and feel that the current increases are not sufficient and remain a poverty wage.[10]

[1] “What is Minimum Wage” (29 September 2017), online: Employment Standards <,minimum-wage,factsheet.html#q173> [].

[2]“Manitoba Government Announces Plan to Increase Minimum Wage to $15 by October 2023” (18 August 2022), online: News Release – Manitoba <,wage%20to%20%2414.15%20per%20hour>. [].

[3] Supra note 2.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Supra note 1.  

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Province of Manitoba Annouces Planned Minimum Wage Increases” (22 August 2022), online: Manitoba Chambers of Commerce <>.

[10] “Manitoba’s minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour by October 2023” (18 August 2022), online: CBC News <> [].

The views and opinions expressed in the blogs and case reporter are the views of their authors, and do not represent the views of the Desautels Centre for Private Enterprise and the Law, the Faculty of Law, or the University of Manitoba. Academic Members of the University of Manitoba are entitled to academic freedom in the context of a respectful working and learning environment.