The majority of workers in the province of Quebec are entitled
to receive the minimum wage established by the provincial
government. The right to the minimum wage is set out in the Act
respecting labour standards, which applies to most
provincially-regulated employers and employees.
Certain categories of workers have clearly been exempted from
the minimum wage requirement under the Regulations respecting
students employed in a non-profit organization having social or
community purposes (such as a vacation camp or a recreational
trainees under a programme of vocational training recognized by
employees entirely on commission who work in a commercial
undertaking outside the establishment and whose working hours
cannot be controlled.
Moreover, the same regulations set a different rate of pay for
raspberry and strawberry pickers, the rate having been established
on the basis of yield (i.e. for every kilogram picked).
Otherwise, as long as the Act respecting labour
standards applies, regardless of how the employee is paid
– with an hourly, weekly or annual wage, or by commission
– the employer must ensure that the employee is receiving at
least the minimum wage for the hours worked. This also means that
training days or trial periods must be remunerated at least at the
minimum wage (they are not "free" hours given by the
Moreover, when calculating the minimum wage, an employer cannot
take into account any benefit it provides that has a pecuniary
value. For example, if the employer provides the employee with an
apartment, with the rent being paid by the employer, then the value
of the rent cannot effectively reduce the wages paid to the
employee below the minimum wage. The same rationale applies when
the employer requires that an employee pay for the purchase or
upkeep of equipment or materials if this brings the employee's
wages below the minimum salary.
An employer who fails to pay an employee the minimum wage
exposes itself to a fine of $600 to $1,200 for a first offence, and
to a fine of $1,200 to $6,000 for any subsequent amount.
Lastly, employers and employees alike take note: today, May
1st, the general minimum wage is increasing by $0.20 to
$10.55 per hour (or to $9.05 per hour for employees who receive
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