A minimum wage has been a government mechanism for regulating the labour market for years. The aim is to protect workers, alleviate poverty, reduce low-paying jobs and address inequality in the labour market among others.
Prince Edward Island (PEI), the smallest province in Canada, was the last province to enact a minimum wage in the country. Despite this, the minimum wage in PEI competes well with other provinces and territories in Canada.
If you’re an employee or looking to be one in PEI, it’s essential to know the current minimum wage to understand what to expect from your employer.
In this article, I discuss everything you need to know about the minimum wage in PEI including how it compares with the federal and provincial minimum wages in the country.
What is a Minimum Wage?
A minimum wage is the least amount that can be paid to an employee per hour by their employer. Governments across different jurisdictions set the minimum wage according to the peculiarities of their environment.
As a result, there exists a varying minimum wage even within a given country. In Canada, the federal government has its minimum wage while the provincial and territorial governments also have theirs.
Regardless of the differences in the minimum wage, the common aim is to ensure that workers are treated fairly by their employers.
Other benefits of minimum wage include eliminating low-paying jobs, boosting workers’ capacity, addressing inequality in the workplace, alleviating poverty and stimulating economic growth.
It’s worth noting that different jurisdictions have the right to exempt certain groups from the minimum wage based on their working conditions.
That being said, let’s look at the current and past minimum wages in PEI and see how they compare with the federal and provincial minimum wages in Canada.
What is the Minimum Wage in Prince Edward Island 2023?
The current minimum wage in PEI is $14.50 per hour. This minimum wage came into effect on January 1, 2023, following an 80-cent increase from $13.70/hour as of April 1, 2022.
Compared to other minimum wages in the Atlantic region of Canada, PEI has the highest minimum wage at the moment.
On the other hand, PEI has the 7th highest minimum wage if you compare it to other provincial/territorial minimum wages in the country.
The minimum wage in PEI applies to workers that are paid per hour. But even if you work under an arrangement that pays you per amount of work instead of the hours you work (i.e piecework), the amount paid can’t be below the minimum wage hourly rate.
That said, the minimum wage in PEI is set by the provincial Minimum Wage Order. In reviewing the minimum wage, The Employment Standards Board gathers public opinions in order to recommend a viable minimum wage to the government.
Deductions on PEI Minimum Wage
It’s worth noting that the government of PEI authorizes employers to make certain deductions from employees’ payments. This is a common practice in other provinces in the country.
The following are the deductions allowed on employee pay in PEI:
- Authorized/required deductions (such as EI, CPP & income tax)
- Court ordered deductions
- Previous advance payment
- Pre-authorized payments to a savings account
- Consented deductions by the employee
- Group plan deductions
- Deductions authorized by the Minimum Wage Order
Besides the above deductions, an employer in PEI doesn’t have another right to deduct from an employee’s pay, especially regarding the employer’s business costs on:
- Damage to business property
- Loss following non-payment from customers
In a situation where the business requires the employee to wear a corporate uniform, the employer can only request a maximum deposit of 25% from the employee.
But once the employment ends and the employee returns the uniform to the employer, the employer must reimburse the uniform deposit to the employee.
If you work with an employer that furnishes board and lodging, the following are the maximum amount that can be deducted from your pay:
- $61.60 per week for board and lodging
- $49.50 per week for board only
- $27.50 per week for lodging only
- $4.25 per meal for single meals
PEI Minimum Wage History
Since 1961 when PEI started setting a minimum wage, there has been a gradual increase in the rate. The following table highlights the minimum wage in PEI om 2009 to 2023.
|Period||Minimum Wage Per Hour|
|October 1, 2009||$8.40|
|October 1, 2010||$9.00|
|June 1, 2011||$9.30|
|April 1, 2012||$10.00|
|October 1, 2014||$10.35|
|July 1, 2015||$10.50|
|October 1, 2016||$11.00|
|April 1, 2017||$11.25|
|April 1, 2018||$11.55|
|April 1, 2019||$12.25|
|April 1, 2020||$12.85|
|April 1, 2021||$13.00|
|April 1, 2022||$13.70|
|January 1, 2023||$14.50|
Usually, the PEI minimum wage is increased every April 1 (with the exception of 2023). The increases ensure that the minimum wage in the province reflects the general increase in the price of goods and services, i.e. inflation, and changes in the standard of living in PEI.
How PEI Minimum Wage Compares With Others
To understand the worth of the minimum wage in PEI, it’s essential to have a general knowledge of the federal, provincial and territorial minimum in Canada.
The federal minimum wage in Canada is $16.65 per hour which came into effect on April 1, 2023, following its increase from $15.55/hour. This minimum wage applies to all federal workers in Canada working even in provinces with higher minimum wages.
The federal government adjusts its minimum wage every April 1 annually to account for inflation as determined by the average annual increase of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
That said, the following table highlights the provincial and territorial minimum wages in Canada starting from the highest to the lowest.
|Province/Territory||Minimum Wage Per Hour|
|Prince Edward Island||$14.50|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$14.50|
From the above table, Yukon has the highest minimum wage with Saskatchewan having the lowest.
Prince Edward Island (PEI) minimum wage ranks 9 out of the 13 provinces and territories in Canada. Compared to Nunavut vs Saskatchewan, PEI has a modest minimum wage.
Like the federal government, the provincial and territorial governments also adjust their minimum wages annually to account for inflation.
How is the Minimum Wage in PEI Determined?
The rate at which the minimum wage changes depends on several factors. Generally, governments at all levels consider inflation when adjusting the minimum wage rate.
The post-pandemic realities in Canada that result not only in increased cost of living but labour shortage and employers’ uncertainty play a major impact on the current PEI minimum wage.
The Employment Standards Board is saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the mum wage regularly. The board makes its recommendations based on public opinions and a series of voting.
In addition to other factors, the board considers employees’ ability to purchase necessities of life such as food, housing, clothing, health care and transportation.
In addition, the Employment Standards Board is expected to consider employee poverty levels and their ability to sustain a suitable standard of living.
P.E.I. Minimum Wage Increase 2023
There has been a gradual increase in the PEI minimum wage from inception to date. This increase is informed by the prevailing realities in the province which include but are not limited to inflation.
The current minimum wage of $14.50/hour saw an 80-cent increase from the $13.70/hour from April 1, 2022.
With PEI having one of the highest inflation rates in Canada, the current minimum wage is below the inflation level.
Although the minimum wage will increase from $14.50 to $15.00 on October 1, 2023.
Notwithstanding, businesses are already complaining about the increase in the minimum wage in PEI due to the post-pandemic challenges they face. They see a high minimum wage increase as a threat to their economic recovery from the pandemic.
The reality is that more increases can be expected in the future to ensure the minimum wage continues to reflect the increase in the cost of living, taxes, transportation, retail products and other amenities in the province.
As a result, the Employment Standards Board is expected to keep reviewing the minimum wage in PEI and submit its recommendations at least once a year.
P.E.I. Minimum Wage Timeline for 2023
The 2023 minimum wage in P.E.I starts at $14.50/hour. This is n 80-cent increase that came into effect on January 1, 2023.
In the past, the P.E.I minimum wage was consistently increased every April since 2017.
However, the minimum wage in 2023 saw a departure from the status quo with the 80-cent increase on January 1, 2023.
Also, the subsequent increase will occur on October 1, 2023, following the recommendation of the Employment Standards Board.
What this means is that the P.E.I minimum wage will increase twice in 2023.
Understanding the Working Hours in PEI
Based on the PEI Employment Standard Acts of PEI, the minimum wage is paid per hour. This means that for every hour you worked, you’re entitled to the current minimum wage.
If you work additional hours (i.e overtime) during the work week, you are also entitled to one and one-half payments times your standard payment per every additional hour.
However, you can have the additional hours converted to paid time off work for all the additional hours you worked.
But if your employer asked you to work outside regular work hours, they must pay you the minimum wage of at least 3 hours.
That said, the standard working hours per week in PEI is 48 hours. However, the following are exempted from the standard work week by the Employment Standards Act:
- Highway Construction Maintenance: 55 hours per week
- Trucking Industry: 55 hours per week
- Seafood Processing Industry: 55 hours per week
- Health Care Industry: 96 hours per two weeks
During your work day, you’re entitled to paid break periods and paid vacation. For every 5 consecutive hours, you’re entitled to 1 half-hour unpaid break.
However, your employer must pay you for the half-hour if you didn’t take the full half-hour break. You must also be paid for the half-hour break if your employer requires that you spend the break at the work premises.
What Jobs are in Demand in Prince Edward Island?
Prince Edward Island is a land of job opportunities. The following are some of the jobs that are currently in demand in the province:
- General Labourer Canada
- Site Manager
- Chief Operating Officer (COO)
- Housekeeping Attendant
- Shipping Supervisor
- Transport Truck Driver
- Home Support Workers And Related Occupations
- Customer Service Representatives
- Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers
Some FAQs on Minimum Wage PEI 2023
Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) is a good place to live especially if you love being in a serene environment surrounded by beaches and historic buildings.
Despite being the smallest province in Canada, PEI boasts of several high-quality amenities. It’s a family-friendly environment with good schools, tourist attractions, and fun-filled outdoor activities.
Some of the notable attractions in PEI include the PEI national park which houses the famous Green Gables Heritage Place and The Anne of Green Gables Museum.
If you enjoy golf and seafood, you will find this great culinary Island worthwhile with its low cost of living.
Prince Edward Island is a heterogeneous society with people across different ethnic groups, tribes and faith. You will find Scottish, English, German, Irish, French and Dutch descents in this white community.
The average price of a home in PEI as of August 2023, is $390,876 as established by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). That is relatively lower compared to the home prices in other parts of Canada such as Ontario and BC.
PEI Minimum Wage 2023: Final Thoughts
As an employee, you should not enter the labour market blindly. Knowing the minimum wage means knowing your right in the market.
The minimum wage in PEI is not the highest nor the lowest in the country. It is a modest minimum wage that competes significantly with the minimum wage in the Atlantic region and other parts of Canada.
If your employer has been underpaying you, it’s time to ask for what you’re due. And if you’re about to join the PEI labour market, you know what to expect.
I hope you’re now informed about the minimum wage in PEI. If you need more clarification, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.