Yukon Minimum Wage 2021

Yukon Minimum Wage 2021

Written by Corrina Murdoch
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 3, 2021

In order to prevent employers from underpaying workers, Canada established a minimum wage regulation. Dating back to the early twentieth century, each province and territory is in charge of setting a minimum wage, or the lowest amount an employer can pay. It helps ensure that workers are able to meet the standard cost of living. In the Yukon, because the labour market is limited, only a small section of the workforce was making $15 per hour or less.  Though it represents only seven percent of the working population, minimum wage remains a relevant topic. 

The bulk of minimum wage earners is represented by young workers (students and teens). By using demographic data to analyze living situations, Yukon determined the new minimum wage. Marking a small uptick in minimum wage, it represents best efforts to maximize available jobs and wages simultaneously. 

Hourly Minimum Wage Rate In Yukon

Though there was an economic evaluation completed by the Department of Finance planning to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021, the actual changes fell short. Originally positioned as a three-step plan, the idea was to go from $11.51 per hour in 2018 to the full $15.  

While the difference isn’t as substantial, the minimum wage did increase to $13.85 per hour. The raise accounts for the one percent increase, determined by changes to the 2020 Consumer Price Index in Whitehorse. 

The minimum wage applies to many workers in Yukon, but not all. Exceptions to the Employment Standards Act include government contracts, union employees, and otherwise regulated staff. Additionally, workers in sectors falling under federal guidelines (banks, trucking, post office, etc.) are also exempt. Everyone else, hourly and yearly workers alike fall under this legislation. Designed as a starting point, gradual increases pursuant to the fair wage schedule are required. So, while the $13.85 is a fixed figure for staff commencing work, over time, the wage does increase over time. 

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History Of The Hourly Minimum Wage Rate In Yukon

Minimum wage is meant to keep up with the time, increasing in tandem with inflation. The idea is to find a wage that can support the cost of living, a metric that changes with time. The Yukon Territory has adapted its wage to accommodate the ever-changing economy. 

YearHourly Minimum Wage
1968$1.25
1970$1.50
1972$1.75
1973$2.00
1974$2.30
1975$2.70
1976$3.00
1980$3.35
1981$3.60
1985$4.25
1987$4.75
1988$5.39
1990$5.97
1991$6.24
1994$6.72
1995$6.86
1997$7.06
1998$7.20
2006$8.25
2007$8.37
2008$8.58
2009$8.89
2010$8.93
2011$9.00
2012$9.27
2013$10.30
2014$10.54
2015$10.72
2016$10.86
2017$11.07
2018$11.32
2019$11.51
2020$12.71
2021$13.85

Minimum Wage Rate Exceptions In Yukon 

Though many workers, hourly and yearly alike, are subject to the minimum wage regulations, there are exceptions. Depending on your sector and work agreement, your payscale may differ. Since all work is subject to the Fair Wage Schedule, understanding where you fit is key to defending your rights as a worker.  

Government Contracts

There are four categories of this schedule, with the lion’s share of the work in these areas being contracted through the government. 

  • Category A: Paid at $35.26 per hour, workers in this category include mechanics, carpenters, crane operators, electricians, and surveyors. The pay scale represents the work difficulty and training that goes into getting certified. 
  • Category B: The next tier down gets $31.61 per hour, where the jobs include things like roofing, drilling, painting, and certain machine operating. There is significant overlap in both category A and B, but the pay ultimately relies on credentials and experience. 
  • Category C: At $28.04 per hour, this category includes assistance for many of the Category A positions, such as cook helpers, truck drivers, and surveyor’s assistants. 
  • Category D: At $25.44 per hour, this set includes labourers, driller’s helpers, first aid workers, security workers, and many other roles. Being slated in this tier depends largely on your role and the need for less experience, balanced with the strain of the job. For instance, flaggers have a straining role, but it requires less training than the role of a Category A mechanic. 

Piecework

When you are not deemed as a regular employee, for instance, freelance contracting, you are not entitled to a minimum wage in the regular sense. As a result, it is the onus of the worker to hash out an agreement that works practically for both parties. The amount you get must equal the minimum wage equivalent for the time taken on the task. 

In piecework, the individual completing the projects effectively operates as its own business. A business is not entitled to a minimum wage, and neither is a worker making money in this manner. If this applies to you, be sure to take your time in negotiations to ensure that you are at least making the equivalent of minimum wage, especially since time is such an important factor. 

Check out the pros and cons of being a gig worker.

Commission Workers

Depending on your situation, you may be classed as a commission worker. There are minimum wage jobs, such as entry-level sales, where you can work against commission. This means that you will make at least minimum wage, but if your commission exceeds that amount, you get the commission instead. 

Other commission situations include being a contractor for a business, earning money for each sale you make. A realtor makes a great example. The work isn’t necessarily steady, but the bulk commission should bridge that gap. 

Given the nature of the work, many commission workers aren’t subject to the minimum wage regulations. That said, if commission works out to less than the minimum wage hourly equivalent, the employer must pay the difference.  

Taxi Drivers

Taxi drivers are in a unique situation, especially when it comes to overtime. In short, they receive minimum wage, paid hourly for regular hours. When that exceeds the week’s expectations, the driver moves into overtime pay. At 150% of minimum wage, all subsequent hours for the pay period are payed at this rate. The employer is responsible for paying this amount; and, if there is a difference between the actual amount owed and amount paid, the employee is entitled to those funds. 

Sitters

Entirely exempt from these regulations, there is no entitlement to a minimum wage for those in this role. It allows the sitter to negotiate a rate, though does not guarantee that amount. However, since sitting can have multiple clients concurrently, the exception makes sense. Consider ten hours at $13.85, the minimum wage would equal gross earnings of $138.50, but those would be the only earnings. 

Since a sitter can hypothetically watch more than one client simultaneously, they can instead charge less and make more. The alternative could be charging each client $50 for that same ten hours. Watching three clients would result in a gross pay of $150. It allows those paying for a sitter to save and still enables the worker to earn more.

Overtime Rate In Yukon

The overtime rate is time and a half in the Yukon, equalling $20.78 per overtime hour. The regular work week extends to 40 hours, with a limit of eight hours per day. Any time worked beyond this amount is subject to overtime pay. 

Overtime also applies to holidays where the employee is entitled to time off. The calculation for overtime requirements for a week with a holiday is reduced proportionately to the time the holiday takes. Overtime calculations do not include any hours the employee works on that general holiday. 

In short, if you are a full-time worker who worked overtime pursuant to either a daily or weekly metric, you are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for those hours.

Learn which documents you’ll need in order to find a job.

Holiday Pay In Yukon

Applying to businesses that keep running on Sundays and public holidays, there are standards set for worker entitlement to pay. Each employee is entitled to a holiday with pay for any general holiday occurring during their employment. However, if the holiday falls on a day where the worker would not be scheduled, they are not entitled to that pay. For instance, if you regularly have Friday off, and the holiday is on that day, no amount is owing from the employer. 

How Holiday Pay Is Calculated

There are set regulations for how wages are calculated for the holiday period. If wages are hourly, and the employer is not working on the holiday, they earn the wage equivalent to their normal hours. If wages are calculated in any other way than daily or hourly, the amount owing is the daily average pay. 

Part-Time And Irregular Hours

While the above applies to those working full-time, employees who work for fewer hours than the 40 standard are still covered under these regulations. In this case, when the employee doesn’t work on the holiday, they are entitled to ten percent of the worker’s wages for the preceding two weeks. 

When You Work On A Holiday

Calculated in a straightforward manner, if you work on a holiday, you are entitled to overtime for all hours worked. Alternatively, the employer and employee can agree on a day in lieu. Basically, the worker does the holiday shift at regular pay. In return, the worker gets a day off, adding to the annual vacation total. 

Minimum Wage Deductions

Even if you are making minimum wage, and are likely to get a tax return, there will still be deductions on your pay cheque. The employee is entitled to a clear pay stub, noting the pay period, hours worked, wages paid, deductions, and net paid amount. Only certain deductions are allowed by law. Most of the deductions are fairly standard, though there may be extras based on the situation. Allowable deductions include:

  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is an expected deduction that applies across Canada, and goes towards a pension fund, from which you can draw once you reach a certain age. 
  • Income taxes are also withheld from your cheque, calculated when you fill out your tax forms upon gaining employment. 
  • Court-ordered Garnishments such as spousal or child support can come off of your pay cheque, as if it is court-ordered the employer must abide. 
  • Employee-assigned wage deduction: If you were overpaid in error, for instance, as long as you provide the reason in writing, the employer can withhold the difference. However, the employee must assign the deduction.
  • Employee-directed wages paid to family members: Finally, if the employee wishes to forward the wage to either a spouse or another family member, they can direct this deduction. 

There are deductions which an employer is not allowed to make. None of the following are legal paycheque deductions: 

  • Employer business costs: Whether it is for the utilities or supplies, it is illegal for an employer to deduct their business costs from your cheque. 
  • Damages for faulty work: If you make an error in the course of business, for instance damaging a wall while moving supplies, the employer cannot charge you for that. 
  • Property damage: If damage occurs to property over the course of your regular business day, your boss cannot withhold these amounts from your cheque. 
  • Cash shortages: If you miscount at a till or get a dine-and-dash customer, your employer is legally barred from charging you the difference. 
  • Property loss: For instance; if, while you work, a shoplifter steals something from the store, your boss cannot make you pay for it. 
  • Finally, your employer cannot make any other deduction without your permission. 

It is the responsibility of your employer to supply you with a pay stub that details itemized deductions. Check your pay stub to ensure that you were paid the correct amount. This way, if there are any issues, you can rectify them immediately. 

Final Notes

Understanding the Yukon’s minimum wage regulations is an important part of learning the territory’s economic climate. It has been steadily climbing, showcasing the rising cost of living. By understanding your entitlements as a worker, you can better advocate for your rights. Whether in terms of deductions or overtime pay, learning these details lets you know exactly where you stand as an employee.

Even if you aren’t an hourly worker, the standards set forth by the minimum wage regulation apply as baseline standards of pay. The Yukon positions itself as an affordable place to live, where the minimum wage is sufficient to meet necessary costs. As long as you know what to expect from your pay, there are no surprises and you can make an accurate budget and plan for future success.  


Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Corrina Murdoch has been a dedicated freelance writer and editor for several years. With an academic background in the sciences and a penchant for mathematics, she seeks to provide readers with accurate, reliable information on important topics. Working as a print journalist for several years, Corrina expanded her reach into the digital sphere to help more people gain insight into the realm of finances. When she's not writing, you can find Corrina swimming and spending time with family.

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