On January 17, 2018, Labour Minister Dominique Vien announced a 75-cent increase in the minimum hourly wage effective May 1, 2018. The increase was more than the 50 cents expected under the minimum wage policy announced last year. This 6.67% bump will bring the minimum wage up to $12 an hour. According to the government’s initial forecasts, Québec’s average hourly wage was to rise to $23.73. As the economy is more favourable than expected, the average rate has been restated at $24.25. Predictability remains a major factor in the financial planning of organizations.
In January 2017, the government came out with a minimum wage policy. The idea was to raise the minimum wage gradually over four years and aim for the equivalent of no more than 50% of the province’s average hourly wage by 2020. Minimum wage increases from 2017 to 2020 will enable the province to reach this 50% ratio. Since 2002, the minimum wage ratio has been between 45% and 47% of average hourly earnings.
In May 2017, the minimum wage increased 50 cents, from $10.75 to $11.25. The benefit of the policy for retailers in Québec was that it introduced some predictability in increases over upcoming years, which partly addressed an oft-repeated request formulated by RCC and its members.
The policy was also intended as a response to groups clamouring for the minimum wage to be bumped up to the $15 mark. RCC expects pressure from union movements and the Parti Québécois to continue, and for this topic to factor heavily in the upcoming election.
On behalf of its members, RCC has consistently requested that minimum wage increases be pegged to the consumer price index (CPI).
RCC intends to work with the government to assess the impacts of the upcoming increases on retail jobs and to optimize potential mitigation measures.