The minimum wage in Saskatchewan is set to increase in less than a week’s time.
The amount will be bumped up from $11.45 to $11.81, a 36-cent increase.
Saskatchewan currently offers the lowest minimum wage in the country, right next to Manitoba at $11.90 an hour.
British Columbia offers the highest wage among provinces at $15.20.
The dubious distinction of being the lowest paying province in the country will still continue even with the pending increase.
“We are of course disappointed once again when we see these little increases, I believe it’s like less than $15 a week,” Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President Lori Johb said.
Johb is also concerned for front-line staff who are working minimum wage jobs.
“They’re risking everything, they’re risking their health and safety, they’re risking their families, and they’re not really recognized. I do believe they deserve better,” she said.
Local Regina business Mortise and Tenon starts their employees at $15 an hour, and one of the owners of the shop, Eric Oleson, says the minimum wage in Saskatchewan is too low.
“I think it was 2016 that they said a livable wage in Saskatchewan would actually be $17.75, and so that’s obviously where we would like to get. Obviously, that number has gone up since that study was done, but yeah, I think minimum wage needs to be a livable wage,” he said.
Memories Dining Room also pays their staff above minimum wage, but owner Thomas Siarko says that the service industry is already struggling financially due to the pandemic, and even this 36-cent increase will affect some local restaurants.
“Right now that little increase for quite a few of them that pay their people minimum wage will be a little bit of a hard pill to swallow,” he said.
The increased minimum wage will take effect on Oct. 1.