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Percentage of women, immigrants, post-secondary grads earning minimum wage on the rise

Last Updated Sep 14, 2019 at 7:57 pm EDT

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Summary

The study looks at who minimum wage earners are, and how that has changed over time

The proportion of women and immigrants earning minimum wage has increased over time

In 2018, one in three workers had a post-secondary education. In 1998, it was one in four

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The overall percentage of workers in Canada who earn minimum wage has doubled in the last 20 years, according to Statistics Canada.

The study looks at who minimum wage earners are, and how that has changed over time.

In addition to finding an overall jump in the percentage of minimum wage workers, it found that 6 out of 10 are women. The proportion of women and immigrants earning minimum wage has increased over time.

In 2018, one in three workers had a post-secondary education. In 1998, it was one in four.

As the minimum wage increased, the age of workers increased as well. Between 2008 and 2018, the proportion of minimum wage earners who are over 25 has grown.

The study notes that people who earn the minimum wage are more likely to have unstable work.

“Low-wage work [is] one of the key elements associated with precarious work in Canada. In addition to lower wages, minimum wage workers are also less likely to receive non-wage benefits such as a pension plan, supplementary health benefits or paid sick leave,” it says.

The agency released the study because of high profile-campaigns to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and a debate over the impact this change might have.

“In recent years, minimum wage increases and their potential impact on the labour market have been at the forefront of Canadian current affairs,” the study says. “Some academics argue that increasing the minimum wage can reduce income inequalities and combat poverty. Others have argued that these increases might reduce employment and work hours for low-skilled workers, as well as employment in automatable jobs.

It points out that several provinces, including British Columbia, have made “notable” increases to the minimum wage in recent years.

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