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Industry minimum wage increased proposed

The Manitoba government has published draft regulations for new minimum wage rates for the heavy construction industry, proposals that now go to consultations prior to adoption.

The Construction Industry Wages Act (CIWA) regulations can be seen here.

The proposed changes to CIWA regulations are based on recommendations of the Construction Industry Minimum Wage working group, which was constituted in 2021, after a review was deemed necessary by then Finance Minister Scott Fielding.

The working group, chaired by Michael Werier, drew representatives from both employer and employee organizations. It submitted its recommendations to the government in December.

Among the working group’s consensus recommendations are:

  1. That the wage schedules should be updated as follows, with the exception of where such increases would move a classification above the currently negotiated union rates at some point in the three-year period (see draft Regulation):
    • Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Sector, excluding mechanical trades: 2022, +5%; 2023, +5%; 2024, +4%
    • Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Sector, mechanical trades: 2022, +3%; 2023, +5.5%; 2024, +5.5%
    • Heavy Construction Sector: 2022, +9.27%; 2023, +2%; 2024, +2%.
  2. That wage rates not be indexed to inflation or other factors at this time, and that the working group be reconvened in 2024 to provide recommendations on a new three-year schedule, to consider other factors aside from inflation, such as labour supply/demand for individual classifications, wage rates in other provinces, etc. 

The minimum wage scale, published in the annual MHCA Membership Directory and Equipment Rental Rates Guide, had not been reviewed since 2013 and the last increase was in 2017.

The minimum wage scale is the “floor” for industry wages by job classification, and does not necessarily reflect the industry market rates, which are acknowledged to be generally higher.

“It is important that there be an established minimum wage but our industry sets its wages by market conditions,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said. “We know that hourly rates in our industry are well in excess, generally speaking, of the posted wages.

“In fact, given market conditions, this is a great time for young people to start in the industry, not just because starting wages are good. There is so much opportunity to advance and make a very good career within heavy construction.”

 It is expected that, post-consultation, the regulations will be implemented for increases to take effect in September 2021.