November 15, 2018
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili introduced a bill that would increase Saskatchewan’s minimum wage to $15/hour by 2022. The bill would see the minimum wage rise from it’s current $11.06 to:
- $12.00 on and from January 1, 2019;
- $13.00 on and from January 1, 2020;
- $14.00 on and from January 1, 2021;
- $15.00 on and from January 1, 2022.
“Our neighbours in Alberta saw their minimum wage reach $15/hour last month, and their economy is vastly outperforming ours,” said Meili. “Poverty wages hurt the most vulnerable, reward big out-of-province companies, and leave less money to spend in local businesses. Everyone does better when minimum-wage workers earn more.”
Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada where the minimum wage is less than half the median wage, which makes it especially hard for low-income workers in Saskatchewan to afford the basics. But in last week’s 75-minute debate, Sask. Party members spoke out against a higher minimum wage, with Sask. Party MLA Ken Francis from Kindersley defending Saskatchewan’s second-lowest-in-the-country minimum wage as follows: “we need the minimum wage kept relatively low so to provide an upside for more skilled and demanding positions. If you move the minimum wage up, everything else goes with it.”
“The Sask. Party’s wage policy is keeping people in poverty, with a real social and financial cost to the province,” said Warren McCall, NDP Critic for Labour Relations and Workplace Safety. “Try telling someone in their thirties who’s earning minimum wage that, with the Sask. Party formula, they’ll be collecting CPP before they see a $15 minimum wage, and see how fair they think that is.”
According to the government’s current formula, the minimum wage would not reach $15 per hour until 2052 — a full three decades later than what the NDP is proposing.