author: kristian ferguson | news editor
How do we compare with the rest of the country?
On Oct. 1, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is rising by 22 cents to $10.72. As this raise comes around the corner, a question is raised. How do we keep up with the rest of the country?
Saskatchewan is not at the bottom in Canada. That is held by New Brunswick at $10.30. Saskatchewan is tied for third-last with PEI and Newfoundland. The highest minimum wage in the provinces is in Ontario at $11.25 and in the territories at $12.50 in the Northwest Territories.
Similarly, Alberta’s minimum wage is rising on the first as well, but by a dollar all the way up to $12.20.
There are some movements around Canada and the US like the “Fight for 15” campaign that feels that the current minimum is not enough.
Rather than establishing a ‘price floor’ that sets the bare minimum an employee can be paid, the Fight for 15 campaign, and other campaigns like it, argue for a minimum standard of living, more often referred to as a ‘living wage.’
While Fight for 15 is more of a broad campaign, Saskatchewan has its own living wage advocates in Saskatoon, quite simply known as “Living Wage Saskatoon.”
According to their website, Living Wage Saskatoon says that the recommended living wage in Saskatoon would be $16.77 an hour based on their calculations.
Living Wage Saskatoon’s website lays out in simple terms the benefits of a living wage: “employees are more reliable, stable, and happy, when earning a decent living. They are more productive. In short, paying a living wage affords workers the healthy living they need to be great employees.”
This isn’t to say that the idea of a living wage is without its opponents. Common arguments against it are typically concerned with the damage it could potentially do to workers.
These issues include but are not limited to job losses, resulting in the hiring of fewer unskilled workers and result in higher prices for consumers. Inflation and a business’ reduced incentive to hire more workers seem to be the major point of people against a living wage.
The Sask. Government’s argument for the lower minimum wage, in comparison to the other provinces, is that with tax credits and deductions, people in the low-income brackets end up having more disposable income than other provinces.
This is still a divided issue for many people, Saskatchewanians included. The Carillon will continue to provide updates on the nature of work and the work environment for students.