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Did Legault Basically Just Admit You Can't Live In Quebec Making Minimum Wage?

He also rejects dramatic increases to the minimum wage.

Senior Editor
Quebec Premier François Legault.

Quebec Premier François Legault.

"It's difficult to make it with $18 an hour, especially when you have children," according to Quebec Premier François Legault. But he also made clear in a December 8 National Assembly debate that he rejects dramatic increases to the province's $14.25 minimum wage, preferring a different wage-raising strategy — one that would inevitably leave behind the lowest earners.

The Canadian Press was first to report this story.

"What we want," he offered as an alternative, "is to increase the average wage. So we want people who earn $25 an hour — that's the average, roughly, in Quebec — to go up to $26, $27, $28. That's our objective."

The premier did commit to minimum wage increases, but not beyond the already annual adjustments. In 2022, the Quebec minimum wage increased by $0.75 to make it approximately 50% of the province's average wage, a target to which Legault says his government will stick.

"There is a rule that is used by just about every economist, who says if we exceed 50% of the average wage for the minimum wage, we will create more negative effects than positive."

"The idea is to create paying jobs."

Legault likened a proposal by opposition party Québec solidaire to raise the minimum wage to $18 per hour to "magic."

"Sure, we can try to say we're going to do magic, we're going to increase it to $18, $20, $25, $30 an hour." But "at some point," he argued, "the negative effects are going to be greater than the positive effects."

"We needed $15 five years ago, it's not a viable wage today," Québec solidaire MNA and critic for labour Alexandre Leduc said in a May statement. "A decent and viable minimum wage is $18 per hour."

    Thomas MacDonald
    Senior Editor
    Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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