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Saskatchewan increasing minimum wage to $11.81 on Oct. 1

The provincial government will be increasing the minimum wage by 3.1 per cent in October. Getty images

The Saskatchewan government announced on Friday that minimum wage will be increased to $11.81 on Oct. 1.

Read more: Sask. government extending small business emergency payment for extra month

The current minimum wage is $11.45 in the province, making this a 3.1 per cent increase. The wage is reviewed annually and calculated using an indexation formula.

The indexation formula “gives equal weight to changes to the Consumer Price Index and Average Hourly Wage for Saskatchewan.”

Saskatchewan has the lowest minimum wage in the country, next to New Brunswick with a minimum wage of $11.75.

B.C. has the highest minimum wage in Canada at $15.20 an hour.

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The increase means employees working 40 hours per week will make $24,564.80 annually, before taxes.

Labour Relations Minister Don Morgan said COVID-19 has resulted in a difficult year and a half for Saskatchewan residents.

Read more: Saskatchewanians argue for and against higher minimum wage

“The provincial government has a strong framework in place to ensure that we are supporting both businesses and workers as we move into recovery after the pandemic.  As life returns to normal, sustainable and predictable increases to our minimum wage help ensure that everyone will be able to benefit from a strong and growing Saskatchewan in the future.”

Friday’s announcement is being met with criticism from both the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and the official opposition.

The SFL president said they were disappointed to hear about the amount of the increase.

“This is a time when we’re trying to integrate people back to work and really try to restart the economy. A big boost in the minimum wage would have gone a long ways in that direction,” Lori Johb said.

Johb said the SFL has always fought for $15 an hour but said even this isn’t an adequate amount anymore.

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The living wage in Saskatchewan is much closer to $20 an hour, Johb explained.

“I think that would make a huge difference in the lives of low wage earners,” Johb said.

Johb added it’s important to note that a majority of small business owners pay their workers above minimum wage, but it’s the larger corporations that stick to minimum wage.

“We know they can surely afford to pay their workers more. They’re the ones that are benefitting the most from this low minimum wage,” Johb said.

Labour critic Carla Beck echoed the SFL’s disappointment. She called the increase a “slap in the face” to minimum wage earners who were essential during the pandemic.

“That we would reward them with 36 cents on the dollar, I think we can do better and I think we need to do better,” Beck told Global News.

One of the NDPs campaign promises in October was to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

 

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