September 28, 2018 11:31 am
Updated: September 28, 2018 6:34 pm

Sask. minimum wage going up Oct.1

The province’s minimum wage is set to increase from $10.96 per hour to $11.06 per hour, from Oct. 1.

Global News File

The province’s minimum wage is set to increase from $10.96 per hour to $11.06 per hour, on Oct. 1.

The 10 cent increase is the 10th raise to the minimum wage since 2007, when the minimum wage was $7.95.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan’s minimum wage set to rise 10 cents

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Every year Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is calculated using an indexation formula that gives equal weight to changes to the consumer price index and average hourly wage for Saskatchewan.

“Since 2011, we have been able to provide predictable annual minimum wage increases, allowing employers and employees to prepare and plan for change,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said.

“Saskatchewan also has a low personal income tax rate and low income tax credit, helping low-income earners keep more money in their pockets.”

READ MORE: Opposition NDP bring $15 minimum wage debate to Sask. legislature

The government introduced an indexation formula in 2010. Increases are announced by June 30 and take effect on October 1 of each year.

With this increase, Saskatchewan moves from having the lowest minimum wage in Canada, to the second lowest. Nova Scotia has the lowest minimum wage at $11.00 per hour.

There are approximately 49,500 minimum wage and low-wage earners in the province. Of that group, 57 per cent work part-time.

Homelessness Partnering Strategy communications director Blair Roberts said that any minimum wage increase is good news, but Saskatchewan’s rate still isn’t high enough for those already living in poverty.

“It’s not enough to survive on. What you see now are a lot of people working full time jobs, two jobs, sometimes two-and-a-half jobs and they’re still struggling to make ends meet,” Roberts said.

“We need a system that takes care of people who are willing to work hard and people that are in and out of poverty and homelessness are some of the hardest workers around. They just need a little bit of extra support.”

Someone working 40 hours a week at the new minimum wage would weekly pay of $442.20 before taxes. That translates to annual earnings of $23,004.

The opposition NDP have pushed for a $15 minimum wage. Alberta’s minimum wage will reach $15 on Oct. 1 too, fulfilling a promise of Premier Rachel Notley.

At $15 an hour, weekly pre-tax pay would be $600. That works out making $31,200 per year.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Prair and agri-business vice president Marilyn Braun-Pollon said their data shows a majority of minimum wage earners are under 24-years-old and work in the retail and service industries.

“That [a $15 minimum wage] would translate to about a 27 per cent increase in labour costs. We’ve done the calculation, it would have an impact of youth job losses – a minimum of 7,700. But also an impact of about $8,800 impact in the employee cost of doing business,” Braun-Pollon said.

“I think at the end of the day, minimum wage we’ve always said is a really blunt tool. There’s better ways to help minimum wage earners. The government’s done a fairly good job of allowing them to keep more money in their pocket.”

Manitoba also increases their minimum wage on Oct. 1. It will rise 20 cents to $11.35 per hour.

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