What is the Minimum Wage in Canada for Students?

What is a Minimum Wage?

Minimum wage is the least hourly wage an employer must pay workers.

The responsibility for determining minimum wage rests with the province as they have been granted this power by federal legislation. There are different minimum wage rates (depending on the province and class of work), including a special minimum student wage rate.

What is the minimum wage in Canada for Students? This post hits the nail on the head. Read on!



What is the Minimum Wage in Canada for Students

Under the legislation, each Canadian province and territory determines the minimum wage for employees and has different labour standards.

In previous years, the federal government set its minimum wage rates for federal jurisdiction industries workers. However, this took a new turn in 1996. The federal minimum wage changed to the general adult minimum wage rate of the province or territory the work is done.

Although most minimum wage earners get paid based on their jurisdiction’s general rates, employees such as young workers, domestic workers, live-in care workers, farm labour workers, and workers with disabilities, fall into a different wage category. 

Also, workers under classes of work like managerial employees, students in training, registered apprentices, commission-only salespersons, rehabilitation programs participants, students designated professions, etc., may be left out of the general coverage.

Some provinces allow liquor servers, other gratuity earners, or inexperienced employees to be paid lower wages. 

Minimum wage rates for students typically apply to students below age 18, working 28 hours per week or less while school is in session. However, the rate also applies to students that work during summer holidays or school breaks.

On the other hand, international students studying in Canada can work for a maximum of 20 hours a week when school is in session and full-time during scheduled school break (such as summer holiday, winter closure, reading week, etc.).


What is the Minimum Wage in Canada for Students and Adult Workers by Province?

ProvinceMinimum Wage (Per Hour) Effective DateAdditional Information
Alberta$15.00 – General workers.
$13.00 – Students under 18 working during a school break, summer holidays, or 28hours/week or less when school is in session.
October 1, 2018View more information.
British Columbia (BC)$14.60 – General workers.
$13.95 – Liquor servers.
June 1, 2020The minimum wage in BC will increase to $15.20 on June 1, 2021. 
*This wage will also include liquor servers.*
Manitoba$11.90 – General workers.
$12.50 – Security guards and workers in the construction industry.
October 1, 2020The upcoming change in the minimum wage for general workers will be on October 1, 2021.

Manitoba’s minimum wage is modified every October 1 depending on Manitoba’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous calendar year. 
New Brunswick$11.70April 1, 2020The minimum wage in New Brunswick is adjusted every April 1 based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous calendar year.
Newfoundland and Labrador$12.15October 1, 2020Minimum wage adjustment occurs every April 1, relative to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year.

There will be additional increases of $0.25 on April 1, 2021, and $0.25 on October 1, 2021.
Northwest Territories$13.46April 1, 2018View more information.
Nova Scotia$12.55 – Experienced workers.
$11.05 – Workers with no experience.
April 1, 2020The minimum wage in Nova Scotia is reviewed annually every April 1, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January through November of the past year.

The Nova Scotia minimum wage will change to $13.10 on April 1, 2021.

The base wage calculation will return to the CPI formula on April 1, 2022. 
Nunavut$16.00April 1, 2020Nunavut’s minimum wage is adjusted yearly on April 1
Ontario$14.25 – General workers.
$13.40 – Students under age 18 working during summer holidays, school break, or less than 28 hours/week when school is in session.
$12.45 – Liquor servers.
$15.40 – Homeworkers (including students, and it’s above the student wage).
October 1, 2020

The minimum wage will be reviewed every October 1, based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year.
Prince Edward Island (PEI)$12.85April 1, 2020The minimum wage in Prince Edward Island will increase to $13.00 on April 1, 2021
Québec$13.10 – General workers.
$10.45 – Workers receiving tips.
May 1, 2020View more information.
Saskatchewan$11.45October 1, 2020The minimum wage is adjusted every October 1. It depends on the average changes in the Saskatchewan Consumer Price Index (CPI), and in the average hourly wage for the previous year.
Yukon$13.71April 1, 2020The minimum wage is adjusted every April 1, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI)for the previous year.

NOTE: The federal minimum wage rate is the prevailing rate of the province in which work is performed.


What is the Minimum Wage Given to International Students who work in Canada while Studying?

As an international student studying in Canada at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), you are eligible to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) when school is in session, and full-time (up to 40 hours a week) during scheduled school breaks and holidays (e.g. spring break, winter break, or summer holidays).

On average, an international student working part-time may earn between $800 CAD to $1,500 CAD per month, while a student working full-time may earn between $1,600 CAD to $3,000 CAD per month. Keep in mind that there will be tax deductions, so you want to budget accordingly.

International students studying in Canada are eligible for a variety of employment/work options, such as:

  • Work On-Campus at the educational institution where you are studying.
  • Work Off-Campus.
  • Work as a Co-op Student or Intern. This is only applicable to some academic programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum.

PRO TIP:
As an international student studying in Canada, even if you do not need the extra income, it is recommended that you work during your studies. This is beneficial as you will gain valuable work experience that will be to your advantage when/if you decide to work in Canada after your studies.


What is the Minimum Wage in Canada for Students in Ontario  

As indicated previously, students’ minimum wage rates apply to students below age 18, working 28 hours per week or less, while school is in session, and students that work during school breaks or summer holidays.

According to the Employment Standard Act (ESA), the minimum wage for students in Ontario is $13.40 CAD.

The Three-Hour Rule

According to the Employment Standard Act (ESA), the three-hour rule states that employers have to pay workers for a minimum of three hours when they call them into work, even if they don’t work for the complete three hours.

This rule applies to both general minimum wage workers and student minimum wage workers.  

Student Workers, Vacations and Public Holiday Pay

Most times, student minimum age employees are entitled to the same vacation and public holiday pay as general minimum wage employees.

Part-time and full-time student workers should get a paid day off work during Ontario’s nine (9) public statutory holidays. Student workers are also entitled to vacation pay and vacation time.


Criticisms Surrounding the Minimum Wage

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, minimum wage laws end up hurting the same people it claims to help. How? By forcing employers to increase prices, cut down staff, or even close down.

The problems associated with raising the minimum wage comes in these two forms:

  1. The total income losses are usually underestimated, sometimes even dismissed. Some employers react to higher minimum wage by hiring fewer workers. Fewer people with jobs means lower total income.
  2. The presumed reductions in income inequality are most likely being overstated.

FAQs on What is the Minimum Wage in Canada for Students


How much do students get paid in Canada?

Students working part-time in Canada get paid an average of $15 CAD per hour. This will amount to approximately $300 CAD a week and $1,200 CAD per month. Keep in mind that tax will be deducted from this amount.


How is minimum wage determined in Canada?

The minimum wage in Canada is the average of the Canadian provinces’ minimum wages, divided by the number of employees in each province. The average hourly earnings and the minimum wage are relative to each province’s Consumer Price Indexes (CPI).


What happens if an international student works more than 20 hours in Canada?

If you work more than 20 hours per week when your school is in session, you are violating your Canada study permit conditions. You can end up losing your student status for doing this, and you may not get approved for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) or any other Canada permit in the future. Also, you may have to leave Canada.

NOTE: As an international student in Canada, you can work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) when school is in session or full-time during the school break.


What is the basic salary in Canada?

The average Canadian salary for employees across the country as of January 2020 was $1,050.59 per week. This means that the yearly average wage for full-time employees is just above $54,630 per year.


Is $50k a year good in Canada?

In some places, an annual salary of $50,000 may be above average. Whereas, in other areas, it may be below the poverty line. Canada’s average good wage is $32,640 USD per year, which is roughly $17 USD per hour.


What is a livable salary in Canada?

Living Wage Index in Canada was an average of $1,877.50 CAD per month from 2015 till 2018. It reached an all-time high of $1,960 CAD per month in 2017 and a record drop of $1,790 CAD per month in 2015.


What is the lowest salary in Canada?

For General Workers – The lowest salary is $14.60 per hour as of June 1, 2020. It’ll change to $15.20 on June 1st, 2021.

Employee Serving Liquor – $13.95 per hour as of June 1, 2020. It’ll become $15.20 on June 1, 2021.


Want to Work and Study in Canada?

Our expert Canada education consultants are ready to provide you with the advice you need, and the support you deserve.


Let’s Chat!

Do you have any questions, suggestions, or comments on the minimum wage in Canada for students?
Share them in the comment section below.

3 thoughts on “What is the Minimum Wage in Canada for Students?”

    1. Louis,
      Thanks for your feedback.
      Oh yes, an international student studying in Canada can work off-campus and there is even no restriction on the type of work you can take on as a student.

  1. Hi, I just applied as a graduate International student but I want to know how am I suppose to apply for a job on and off campus and where do I find them?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top