January 30, 2019 1:24 pm
Updated: January 30, 2019 1:27 pm

Minimum wage going up in Quebec

Quebec Premier Francois Legault listens to a questions from reporters before attending a cabinet meeting in Gatineau, Que., on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. The Quebec government has announced it will increase the province's minimum wage but unions believe it's not enough.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
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Quebec’s minimum hourly wage is going up to $12.50 as of May 1 — a $0.50 increase.

Workers who receive tips will see their salary increase by $0.25 per hour bringing their hourly wage to $10.05. Raspberry pickers will now receive an extra $0.15 per kilogram; strawberry pickers will see an increase of $0.04 per kilogram.

Quebec’s employment minister Jean Boulet made the announcement Wednesday, saying the raise will benefit 288,200 workers.

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READ MORE: More than 100 groups signed a common declaration asking the Quebec government to increase the province’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“By tying increases in the minimum wage to growth in the average hourly salary ($24,92), workers receiving minimum wage will benefit from the general growth of salaries and the evolution of the economy. This way, our government will contribute to the most vulnerable workers by increase their purchasing power without harming the job market and companies’ competitiveness,” Boulet said in a statement.

Quebec workers’ unions disagree. The CSN (Confédération des syndicats nationaux) –Quebec’s second largest trade union federation representing about 300,000 workers– told Global News the raise is not enough.

“This raise won’t help people working full time to have a living wage. We still have working poor and people working full-time going to food banks, especially women,” said Caroline Senneville, CSN Vice-President. “When they raised the minimum wage in Ontario [to $14] there were no job losses, people didn’t quit school, so this didn’t harm the job market in Ontario.”

Watch below: Ontario government freezes minimum wage hike as part of labour reforms rollback

Unions and community groups have been urging the government to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

A $0.50 raise Senneville said won’t help attract workers to a job market where employers are complaining of a labour shortage.

“When people working at minimum wage earn more, that money goes straight into the economy. It helps employers who can sell more stuff and the government can raise more taxes. Hiking the minimum wage is good for business,” Senneville said.

READ MORE: Quebec’s minimum wage climbs to $12 per hour as of May 1

The Liberal government increased Quebec’s minimum wage to $12 an hour last May.

The raise of 75 cents — from $11.25 — marked the largest wage increase in the province’s history.

Senneville said the CAQ’s increase is not in line with Francois Legault’s talk during his election campaign.

“Legault said he wanted jobs that are better paid again and again during elections. It’s not coherent to say that and only raise the minimum wage by 50 cents, Senneville explained. “They should set a goal to go to $15 progressively in the coming 2 to 3 years.”

WATCH: Alberta’s new $15 minimum wage the highest in Canada

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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