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March 2004
Vol. 5, no. 3

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Minimum wage workers
Deborah Sussman and Martin Tabi

  • In 2003, some 547,000 people worked at or below the minimum wage set by their province. Nearly half were aged 15 to 19—the majority of them students and living with their parents.
  • Women aged 25 to 54 accounted for 22% of minimum wage workers. This may reflect the tendency for some women to work part time, often at a lower paid job, in order to balance paid work with childcare and other family responsibilities.
  • Almost all minimum wage workers were employed in the service sector. Accommodation and food services, in particular, had the highest incidence, with one in six workers working at or below minimum wage.
  • Part-time employment is a notable feature of minimum wage work. Some 60% of minimum wage workers worked part time compared with less than 20% of all employees.

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Deborah Sussman is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. She can be reached at (613) 951-4226. Martin Tabi is with Finance Canada. Both authors can be reached at

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