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Sask. minimum wage lowest in Canada
Published Monday, April 1, 2019 5:52PM CST
Last Updated Monday, April 1, 2019 6:56PM CST
As of April 1, 2019, Saskatchewan has the lowest minimum wage in the country, at $11.06 per hour. A Regina event, ‘Fight for $15 Saskatchewan,’ facetiously celebrated the title on Monday.
“People can’t live, people can’t make ends meet on $11 an hour. Or, on generally anything less than $15 an hour,” said Saima Desai, an organizer with Fight for $15 Saskatchewan.
Nairn MacKay attended the event to raise awareness on how hard it can be to make ends meet on minimum wage. She says she has worked low-income jobs most of her life.
“There have been periods in my life where I’ve literally been three days from homelessness,” MacKay said.
MacKay wants Saskatchewan's minimum wage to rise to $15 an hour.
“We should all have that security, that stability, that if we just get a job, we'll be okay,” MacKay said.
“It is very embarrassing now that Saskatchewan has the lowest minimum wage in the country,” said Peter Gilmer with the Regina anti-poverty ministry. “And indeed, we've been competing for last place for far too long.”
But, the provincial government has no plans to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“The Bank of Canada has indicated if we do an immediate increase to $15 an hour, it could have, across Canada, a detrimental effect to 60,000 jobs,” said Don Morgan, minister of labour relations and workplace safety.
Morgan pointed to other efforts to help low-income earners, like removing more than 100,000 low-income people off the tax roll since 2008.
“We've learned that that number has shrunk, because those people are now earning more money. It was for them, a pathway to a higher job,” Morgan said. “I would rather have somebody come into the workforce at a low level and then move up, than not be able to come in at all.”