Low paid work still widespread in Canada

Low paid work still widespread in Canada


Edited by Traci Lawson

Despite strong economic growth, historically low unemployment rates and much discussion about labour shortages, about one in six of all employed workers in Canada – almost 2.2 million — was still low paid and earning poverty wages in 2006.

According to the Labour Force Survey, in 2006:

More than 2 million workers, or 15.7% of the employed workforce, were paid less than $10 an hour.
Over 60% of the low-paid workforce was women, representing one in five employed women.
More than 1.1 million full-time workers, or 10% of the full-time workforce, was paid less than $10 an hour; for women this ratio is 13.2%.

Over 1 million adults were paid less than $10 an hour in 2006, including 721,000 adults who worked full-time – representing 7% of all adults who worked full-time.

One in five working seniors was paid less than $10 an hour, and one in six seniors who worked full-time.

A high proportion of workers in the following occupations and industries were paid less than $10 an hour:

Retail sales (55.5%) and food service (42.6%)
Child care and home support (23.7%) and other services (45.2%)
Occupations unique to primary industry (22.4%)
Labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities (22.2%)


The average minimum wage in 1976 would be equivalent to $9.13 in today’s dollars after adjusting for inflation.

Canada’s average minimum wage will be far below minimum wage levels in the U.K., Ireland, France and most other Western European countries that have national minimum wages .


Higher minimum wages in U.S. border states haven’t resulted in higher unemployment rates or economic damage.





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