François Legault acknowledged Thursday that it is difficult to live with dignity in Quebec when you earn $18 an hour.

The premier made this statement during an exchange in the House with the Québec Solidaire (QS) parliamentary leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

Nadeau-Dubois demanded an increase in the minimum wage from $14.25/hour to $18/hour, which Legault refused, saying that the average wage should be increased instead.

"We want people who earn $25/hour, which is the average in Quebec, to go up to $26, $27, $28. That's our goal. We have much more ambition than QS," he said.

In his response, Legault admitted that "it's difficult to get by on $18/hour, especially when you have children." 

It was a "shocking" and "very revealing" admission, said Nadeau-Dubois in an interview.

He pointed out that 800,000 people in Quebec earn less than $18/hour.

"What François Legault acknowledged today is that he is very aware that these 800,000 people are not able to make it and that he is choosing not to change anything about this situation," he said.

"He chooses to keep the minimum wage at a level that doesn't even allow them to live in dignity. It's a choice that he makes consciously," Nadeau-Dubois said.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 8, 2022