Minimum Wage Changes

As of April 1, 2018, the minimum wage in the Northwest Territories increased from $12.50 per hour to $13.46 per hour. This decision was informed by the thorough and considered research of the Minimum Wage Committee.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is confident that this increase will be both good for workers, who will earn a better wage, and good for businesses which will be able to better attract workers for minimum wage positions.

Why has the government decided to increase the minimum wage?

  • The minimum wage was last increased in the NWT in 2015. Since that time, the cost of living and the average hourly wage has risen and minimum wage earners have fallen behind.

How was the new minimum wage determined?

  • The Minimum Wage Committee conducted extensive research, including current minimum and average hourly wages in other Canadian jurisdictions as well as social and economic influences, and developed recommendations.

  • An increase to $13.46 per hour reflects 45% of the average hourly wage, which is the same level as the minimum wage was set at when increased in 2015.

How will employers be affected by this?

  • Most employers already pay more than the minimum wage, and they do this because this is what is required to attract and retain employees in the NWT. Some employers who currently pay minimum wage will experience higher payroll costs.

  • Research suggests that employment loss is not significant until the minimum wage rate passes 50% of the average hourly wage. An increase to $13.46 per hour reflects 45% of the average hourly wage.

  • To give employers sufficient time to adjust to the new minimum wage, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment notified employers in advance of the change.