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Quebec Government Announces Increase in Minimum Wage amid Economic Uncertainty

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Quebec Government Announces Increase In Minimum Wage Amid Economic Uncertainty

Quebec‘s minimum wage will be raised by 50 cents to $15.75 per hour as of May 1, in response to the economic uncertainty affecting sectors such as retail and hospitality, which are currently facing closures and difficult conditions, according to Quebec’s Ministry of Labour. This increase will impact 200,700 workers, with 111,200 being women.

The decision to raise the minimum wage by 50 cents per hour is justified by the Minister of Labour, Jean Boulet, due to the potential negative effects of a significant increase, leading to pressure on employers and potential closures in the retail, restaurant, and accommodation industries. The government aims for the minimum wage to remain at around 50% of the average wage, and with the upcoming increase, it will reach 50.8%.

Minister Boulet highlights that the announced increase of 50 cents per hour is equivalent to 3.28% and higher than the anticipated inflation rate for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, which stands at 2.3%. He also emphasizes the government’s efforts to protect the population from inflation through various measures, such as one-time checks, capping government tariffs, tax reductions, and enhancements to the senior tax credit.

The Collectif pour un Québec sans pauvreté expressed dissatisfaction with the increase, considering it to be insufficient in the current context where an increasing number of employed individuals are relying on food banks to feed themselves. They argue that an hourly wage of $15.75 falls short. The organization also raises concerns about a labor shortage, particularly in low-wage sectors, and Quebec’s need to regulate child labor.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), representing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), sees the moderate increase as a relief. François Vincent, CFIB’s Vice-President for Quebec, acknowledges that while the increase adds to costs for SMEs, it appears reasonable within the current context. SMEs hope for wage increases to be accompanied by a decrease in the tax burden, a reduction in payroll taxes, or the availability of a tax credit to provide assistance.

The largest labor union in Quebec, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), criticized the 50-cent increase as completely disconnected from reality. The secretary-general, Denis Bolduc, remarked that the government is mocking the less fortunate.

Rachel Adams

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