Saskatchewan wage hike faces criticism

Minimum wage set to rise by 36 cents to $11.81 in October

Saskatchewan wage hike faces criticism

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage increase set to kick in in October is being met with criticism.

In June, the province announced it is pushing up its minimum wage to $11.81 per hour starting October, an increase of $0.36 from the current $11.45 per hour. This is the 13th increase to the minimum wage, for a total increase of over 48 per cent, since 2007.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour called the announcement an “embarrassment” and an insult to front-line workers.

“It’s incredibly insulting that, after what working people in Saskatchewan have been through over the past year, the provincial government would announce a raise for minimum wage workers that amounts to a small handful of change,” said Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) president Lori Johb. “These frontline heroes have been working hard over the past year in grocery stores, gas stations and many other workplaces, putting their own health and safety at risk to ensure Saskatchewan people have access to vital goods and services.”

Saskatchewan has the lowest minimum wage in Canada. In comparison, Yukon increased its minimum wage from $13.85 per hour to $15.20 per hour in August. The Northwest Territories also raised its minimum wage to $15.20 an hour on Sept. 1. 

As of Oct. 1, Ontario's minimum hourly wage will increase by ten cents — from $14.25 to $14.35. There have also been recent minimum wage increases in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and New Brunswick.

In July, Ottawa approved a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage.

Wage increase faces criticism

“Only Saskatchewan would be proud enough to share its minimum wage hike of a wildly generous $0.36. This province has to be some kind of a slow-burn prank,” says Twitter user @stalematefoto.

“Glad it's rising, but that still isn't a living wage in Saskatchewan. People working minimum wage need to be making at least $17/hr & receiving 38+ hours per week to have a chance,” says Twitter user @AmandaFrombach. “And even a "decent" employer (Sherwood Co-op), that had a union which I worked for throughout university, consistently gave non-permanent employees 37hrs/week… we didn't qualify for benefits.”

"I think it was 2016 that they said a livable wage in Saskatchewan would actually be $17.75, and so that’s obviously where we would like to get. Obviously, that number has gone up since that study was done, but yeah, I think minimum wage needs to be a livable wage," says @Justweeterin.

A report released in March suggested that minimum wage increases do little to lower poverty rates and can actually hurt low-income workers.

Saskatchewan notes that every year, its minimum wage is calculated using an indexation formula that gives equal weight to changes to the Consumer Price Index and average hourly wage for the province.

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