Today’s meagre increase in the minimum wage to $11.06/hour, the second lowest in the country, leaves Saskatchewan workers struggling to make ends meet.
“When the minimum wage has been so low for so long, an extra dime an hour just doesn’t cut it,” said NDP Leader and Jobs Critic Ryan Meili. “People earning minimum wage work incredibly hard, and they’re still falling behind because of this conservative government’s inaction. No one should be working full time and still living in poverty.”
Speaking at Saskatoon business, The Better Good, Meili committed to phasing in an increase in the minimum wage to $15/hour within the first term of an NDP government.
“The evidence is clear: raising the minimum wage improves health outcomes, decreasing public costs for social supports, and improves the economy through increased local spending without negatively impact employment,” said Meili.
“When workers earn enough to meet their families’ needs, everyone does better, including local businesses,” said Laura Neufeld. Her small business, The Better Good, has been a Living Wage employer since 2014. “I’ve seen firsthand the positive difference paying good wages makes in both the success of my business and the lives of my employees.”
Toronto-based economist Armine Yalnizyan also touts the benefits of a higher minimum wage. “When lower-income households see a sustained rise in incomes, they spend virtually all of it, and almost all of this spending stays in the local economy,” said Yalnizyan. “Boost the minimum wage and you boost the economy from the bottom up.”
Alberta, whose economy is growing much faster than Saskatchewan’s, saw their minimum wage increase to $15 an hour today. That means a full time worker in Alberta is seeing a larger monthly raise ($212) than a worker in our province will see all year ($182).
“Slow-walking the minimum wage hurts people and stunts our economic growth,” said Labour Relations Critic Warren McCall. “The Sask. Party government is ignoring this vital economic stimulus tool and the economy is suffering for it. Saskatchewan people deserve better.”