The NDP wants a minimum wage that’s both more competitive with other provinces, and gives working people a decent wage to live on.
The government announced Thursday that the new wage will be $10.50 as of Oct. 1. That’s lower than the current minimum wages in eight other provinces and territories. The premier of Alberta has stated her government has plans to raise that province's minimum wage to the highest in Canada, which would bump Saskatchewan down to ninth place.
“The reality is that working 40 hours per week, every week, and never calling in sick – that equals about $21,000 per year with no benefits or pension,” said NDP Labour critic David Forbes.
“The cost of living in Saskatchewan has really gone up, especially when you look at housing, our utility bills and childcare costs. The reality for many minimum-wage earners is two or even three jobs, and tough choices, like choosing between food and rent. We shouldn’t have to hear about food bank use jumping or about kids going to bed hungry in this province – but we do.”
The NDP supports indexing minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index changes, but called for an increase before indexation started to prevent indexation from holding minimum-wage earners back. Now, it would like to see a one-time adjustment to ensure minimum wage is a livable wage.