The NDP believes Saskatchewan’s minimum wage shouldn’t be lower than Alberta and Manitoba’s, yet Saskatchewan’s 30-cent minimum wage change on Oct. 1 will keep Saskatchewan behind Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec and the territories.
“Housing, school fees, power bills, tuition and all the things we pay extra for these days has made the cost of living in Saskatchewan harder for everyone,” said NDP Labour critic David Forbes. “Someone who works two jobs shouldn’t have to use a food bank to put food on the table. Too many parents are forced to choose between food, school supplies or the power bill, and that’s not good for their families, or for building healthy communities as a whole.”
Forbes said the NDP supports the current system of indexing the minimum wage, so automatic increases match the change in the Consumer Price Index – a system New Democrats pushed for. But the Sask. Party used a minimum wage lagging behind the rest of the country as the starting point – so indexation is keeping Saskatchewan behind rather than helping it get ahead.
Forbes said a one-time adjustment would catch Saskatchewan up to its neighbouring provinces – a good first step in making life just a little better for lower-income families.
The NDP has advocated for a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy including a guaranteed basic income pilot project which, if successful, could be used to replace and streamline the many current social services and income security programs.