A number is never just a number: Minimum wage mythology

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Number of decades that the average of provincial minimum wages in Canada has remained unchanged in real terms. (Source)


The average of all provincial minimum wage rates in Canada in 2013 -- about the same value as the 1975 average of minimum wage rates ($10.13 expressed in 2013 dollars). (Source)

Hourly minimum wage gain for Canada's lowest-paid workers over the past four decades: a single red penny. You know, that currency we thought so useless it's no longer issued? (Source)



Percentage of all paid employees in Canada earning the minimum wage in 2013. That's a five per cent increase in the proportion of minimum wage earners since 1997. Ontario and Prince Edward Island are the provinces with the highest proportion of minimum wage earners. (Source)


Annual average before-tax earnings for a minimum wage worker in Alberta who works 35 hours a week year-round. That's less than the Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO). Alberta has one of the lowest minimum wages in Canada. (Source)


The first year that every province in Canada has decided to set its minimum wage at $10 dollars an hour or more. (Source)


The year that Canada's federal government stopped raising the federal minimum wage. It's been dormant for nearly two decades. As a result, it's been up to provincial governments to set the bar for the minimum wage. (Source)


The hourly rate that the New Democratic Party says should be Canada's federal minimum wage. They suggest raising it in increments over five years. (Source)


The hourly rate that the federal minimum wage would be today if it was set at 60 per cent of the average national industrial wage which, in Canada, was $24.15 an hour in 2013. (Source)


The number of American cities where fast food service workers recently walked off the job in non-violent civil disobedience as part of a grassroots effort to get their sector to pay a minimum of $15 an hour. (Source)


The minimum wage set by Seattle's new mayor for workers in that city. The minimum wage will rise incrementally, reaching $15 an hour for "schedule A" workers in 2017. Neat fact: the implementation scheme grew out of an advisory committee consisting of labour, business and non-profit representatives. (Source)


Percentage of cases in which two economists found no statistically significant relationship between a higher minimum wage and a negative labour market outcome in Canada between 1983 and 2012 -- dispelling long-standing minimum wage mythology. (Source)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out at the beginning of each month.

Photo: Reid Haithcock/uusc4all/flickr

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