Moe teases minimum wage hike as Sask. opposition debuts resource surcharge plan

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan NDP proposes royalty increase on oil, potash'
Saskatchewan NDP proposes royalty increase on oil, potash
The Saskatchewan NDP is out with a new plan they say will put big bucks in the pockets of every Saskatchewan resident. Connor O'Donovan has more on how the plan would harness high resource prices to pay dividends to the public and the provincial government's quick response to it – May 3, 2022

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says an announcement about increasing minimum wage in Saskatchewan will be made in the “coming days.”

“As we are looking at what can we do as a government to support Saskatchewan families this is one area, with proper consultation, that we’re able to make maybe a one-time or maybe a couple of times, phased-in, market-based adjustment to increase minimum wage,” Moe said after first teasing the potential increase during question period debates Monday.

Moe did not give any specific details regarding what the raise might be, but said it would impact not only those on minimum wage but “those that might be close” to minimum wage as well.

Read more: Opposition wants royalty increase on oil, potash

Currently, the minimum Saskatchewan is $11.81 — the lowest rate in the country.

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The indexation formula the government has used since 2007 to calculate minimum wage increases gives equal weight to the change in the Consumer Price Index and the Average Hourly Wage for Saskatchewan from the previous year.

Moe said the “market-based adjustment” would be “above and beyond” the indexation formula.

Click to play video: 'Experts feel minimum wage is not high enough in Saskatchewan'
Experts feel minimum wage is not high enough in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour has advocated for a minimum wage in Saskatchewan ranging between $15 to $17 in urban centres and between $17 and $20 in other areas of the province.

University of Regina faculty of social work Prof. Miguel Sanchez told Global News in December that current minimum wage earnings for parents providing for a family combined would be around $4,000 below the poverty line.

Read more: Saskatchewan minimum wage due for increase to raise low-wage earners over poverty line: experts

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Moe’s comments came shortly after the Saskatchewan NDP proposed adding a one per cent “windfall profit surcharge” to oil and potash sales when they rise above certain price thresholds.

They say the plan could generate $250 million a year, enough to pay a “dividend” of around $105 to every Saskatchewan resident, boost health-care funding and scrap the controversial PST expansion announced in Saskatchewan’s most recent budget.

Saskatchewan NDP deputy leader Nicole Sarauer called Moe’s minimum wage comments a “channel change.”

“This is a classic move from the premier to lob up a trial balloon to see what kind of reaction or channel change he can get for the day,” she said.

“We have the lowest minimum wage in the country. It’s interesting he’s chosen today after our announcement to potentially do that.”

Moe told reporters Monday afternoon the government is not considering the NDP plan, suggesting that it would jeopardize investment in Saskatchewan.


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