Minimum wage in N.W.T. will increase as of Sept. 1

By Amanda Jerome

Law360 Canada (July 11, 2023, 12:53 PM EDT) -- The government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) will be increasing the minimum wage from $15.20 to $16.05 per hour, a change which “reflects the percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the average hourly wage for 2021 and 2022.”

This adjustment will be effective as of Sept. 1, 2023.

According to a government release, issued July 10, the GNWT “changed the way it calculates and adjusts the minimum wage” in 2022.

This change, the release noted, “allows businesses to be better able to plan for minimum wage adjustments, as they will occur annually on September 1, and makes sure minimum wage earners receive regular, anticipated pay increases.”

“The new method of calculating the minimum wage has achieved a moderate and predictable increase to the minimum wage rate, which provides stability and certainty to the territory’s business community while helping residents of the NWT keep up with the cost of living,” the release added, noting that the Department of Education, Culture & Employment will be “conducting a public survey in the fall to get feedback on the new method for adjusting the minimum wage.”

Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, R.J. Simpson, said, “this year is the first year we’ve adjusted the minimum wage based on the formula that takes into account the cost of living.”

“We recognize that the minimum wage needs to work for both employers and employees. With these planned annual increases, we’re making it easier for businesses to prepare for minimum wage adjustments, while helping to ensure the lowest paid workers in the NWT get regular pay raises,” he added in a statement.

According to the release, the last increase to the N.W.T.’s minimum wage “occurred on September 1, 2021 and represented an increase of $1.74; from $13.46 to $15.20 per hour.”

“Before that, the minimum wage hadn’t changed since April 1, 2018, when it went up from $12.50 to $13.46 per hour,” the release explained, noting that this year’s adjustment “represents a 5.6 per cent increase to the minimum wage rate.”

As of 2023, the minimum wage rate will be “adjusted annually using a formula based on the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Yellowknife and the percentage change in the average hourly wage in the NWT for the preceding calendar year,” the release concluded.

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