This is an unofficial archived version of The Wages Recovery Act
as enacted by SM 1987-88, c. 9 on July 17, 1987.

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R.S.M. 1987, c. W10

The Wages Recovery Act

Table of contents

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:



In this Act,

"employee" means any person who is in receipt of, or entitled to, any wages; ("employé")

"employer" includes every person responsible for the payment of the wages of an employee under any Act or law ; ("employeur")

"wages" includes all wages, salaries, pay, commission, and any compensation for labour or personal services measured by the time, piece, or otherwise. ("salaires")


Contract to be in writing.


Every hiring or contract of personal service for a period of more than one year shall be in writing and be signed by the employer to be charged therewith or some other person authorized by him otherwise it is void and of no effect.

Not to bind for more than nine years.


No contract of service or indenture entered into by any parties is binding on them or either of them for a longer period than nine years from the date of the contract or indenture.


Information for non-payment of wages.


Any employee who has cause of complaint against his employer, whether the relationship of employer and employee has been determined or not, for

(a) the non-payment of wages actually earned in his employment; or

(b) wages payable under a contract of service;

may lay an information in writing and under oath before a justice, stating the cause of complaint and the amount of wages claimed.



Upon receiving the information the justice shall issue a summons requiring the employer to appear before him at the time and place mentioned therein to answer the claim made.

Jurisdiction of justice on hearing.


Where, upon the hearing of a complaint, the justice is satisfied that the cause has been proven, he

(a) may discharge the complainant from his employment if the term of service has not expired, and whether he is still in actual service with the employer or not; and

(b) shall order the employer to pay to the complainant the amount of wages found to be due up to the time when the service could or would be legally ended by notice from the employer or by effluxion of time, not to exceed, however, the sum of $500., exclusive of costs, or as hereinafter provided, such lesser amount as he may think just and reasonable under the circumstances of the case, together with costs of the prosecution.



Costs of the prosecution, in addition to the ordinary costs provided for in such cases, shall include

(a) such sum as the justice may allow for solicitor's costs, which shall not exceed

(i) $5. where the amount ordered to be paid is $50. or under: or

(ii) $10. where the amount ordered to be paid is over $50. but under $100.; or

(iii) $15. where the amount ordered to be paid is $100. or more but under $200. ; or

(iv) $25. where the amount ordered to be paid is $200. or more; and

(b) an allowance to the complainant for his personal attendance as a witness in his own behalf.

Service by complainant.


The complainant may himself undertake the service of the summons upon the employer; and in such cases the costs of making the complaint, of the summons, and of the hearing fee, shall not exceed $2.



The justice, in determining the amount that he thinks is just and reasonable, may take into consideration any loss or damage caused to the employer by reason of

(a) any wilful or malicious act or neglect of the complainant during the period of the service in respect of which the cause of complaint arose; or

(b) any breach of the contract of service committed by the complainant:

and shall state in his finding the extent, if any, to which loss or damage is allowed: but this provision does not authorize the justice to award any balance or sum in favour of the employer.

Information and hearing.


An information shall be heard and determined before a justice in the municipality in which the employer resides or carries on business: but any justice in the province may receive the information and issue a summons requiring the employer to appear at any place in the municipality before a justice.

Another justice shall notify justice hearing.


A justice before issuing a summons requiring the employer to appear before another justice shall satisfy himself that the justice will be in attendance at the time and place mentioned in the summons.

Dispensing with costs at commencement of prosecution.


Where an employee desires to proceed under section 4, the justice before whom the information is laid, upon being satisfied that the complainant is unable, by reason of lack of funds or otherwise, to pay the costs or fees payable in respect of the proceedings instituted, including the cost of service of the summons, may dispense with the payment of them or extend the time of payment of them until after the determination of the proceedings.

Addition of amount in judgment.


Where the payment of cnsts and fees has been dispensed with or postponed under subsection (1), if judgment is given in favour of the complainant, those costs, including any other costs allowed, shall be included in the amount ordered to be paid.


Warrant of distress.


In the case of the non-payment of any sum of money ordered to be paid by a justice, he may issue his warrant of distress to levy the sum of money and costs by seizure and sale of the goods and chattels of the party against whom the order was made.

Warrant where several claims.


In case the complaints of two or more employees are determined before a justice on the same day and sums of moneys are ordered to be paid to the employees by the same employer, he may issue one distress warrant covering all of the sums of money ordered to be paid to the employees; and in the event of realization thereon, the employees shall share therein in the proportion that their claims bear to the total of all claims included therein.

Execution of warrant


A distress warrant issued may be executed against the personal estate of the person indebted; and the exemptions provided by The Executions Act do not apply thereto excepting those provided by clauses 23(l)(a), (b) and (c) of that Act.

Warrant against crops.


A distress warrant shall, as against crops grown on the premises on which the labour of the complainant was performed, take priority, to the extent of $150. and no more (in respect of each complainant's claim), over a landlord's or mortgagee's warrant, bill of sale, or security agreement, executed after the labour in respect to which proceedings were commenced, and over a writ of execution or other processes issued out of any court after the commencement of the labour.

Warrant for wages.


A distress warrant may be executed against personal property found on the premises where the labour was performed, whether owned by the employer or by the person related to or connected by marriage with the employer or by a person whose title is derived from the employer, relative, or person so connected.



Subsections (2), (3), (4), and (5), do not apply to a claim by a person related to, or connected by marriage with, the employer.

Application to other Acts.


Subsections (3) to (6) apply to a warrant of distress issued by a justice with respect to a claim for the payment of wages under any Act of the Legislature.

Committal for non-payment of wages to domestic servant.


Where the cause of complaint is for wages earned as a domestic servant, and the sum ordered to be paid is not paid within 10 days, the justice may, after notice to the employer of a time and place when and where he may be heard, which notice may be served in the same manner as in the case of a summons under this Act, summarily commit the employer to the common gaol for a period not exceeding six months unless the amount of the order and the costs, occasioned by the default is sooner paid; and the committal does not operate to extinguish the right to enforce payment of the amount so ordered to be paid and the costs.

Certificate of judgment.


The employee in whose favour an order is made for a sum exceeding $20. is entitled to receive a certificate of judgment in Form A in the Schedule, and may, upon payment of a fee of 50¢ file it in the office of the Court in which the order was made; and the certificate shall from the date of filing be deemed to be a judgment obtained in the Court for the recovery of a debt of the amount specified in the certificate.

No distress warrant where certificate issued.


Where a justice has issued a certificate of judgment in Form A to an employee in respect of an order he shall not issue a distress warrant to the employee pursuant to section 8 in respect of the same order.

Time of issue of certificate.


A certificate in Form A shall not be issued for filing,

(a) until 10 days have elapsed since the order was made; and

(b) where a distress warrant has been issued under section 8, until the return thereof;

and, where a distress warrant has been returned, the certificate shall show the amount realized under the distress warrant.

Certificate where justice has died.


In the case of the death, illness, absence, or resignation, of the justice who has heard and determined an information under this Act and made an order in favour of an employee for the payment of money, any other justice, if satisfied of the facts, may issue the certificate of judgment mentioned in subsection (1), making the necessary changes therein; which certificate shall be of the same force and effect as if made by the justice who heard and determined the information and made the order.

No exemption under Judgments Act.


The exemptions provided in The Judgments Act do not apply to a certificate of judgment registered in respect of a judgment obtained under subsection (1).


Restriction on appeal.


Unless the amount in question is in excess of $20. or the justice has taken into consideration the question of loss or damage occasioned as provided in subsection 5(4), there is no appeal whatsoever from any order made under this Act.

Civil remedy preserved.


Nothing in this Act curtails, abridges, or defeats, any civil or other remedy for the recovery of wages or damages by an employee from his employer or for the recovery of damages by an employer from his employee except in so far as any complaint under this Act has been determined by the order of a justice.



(Section 10)


Province of Manitoba,

This is to certify that in a proceeding under The Wages Recovery Act tried by me on the day of ,19 , in which was complainant and was defendant, a judgment was pronounced, or order made in favour of the for the sum of $ , and (if proper) a distress

warrant was thereupon issued and has been returned, under which $ was made.

Dated at the day of , 19 .