Saskatchewan minimum wage-earners are getting a raise.
The provincial government announced May 3 that the province's minimum wage will increase from $11.81 per hour to $13 per hour on Oct. 1. The hike, an increase of 10.1 percent, will be followed by increases to $14 per hour on Oct. 1, 2023 and to $15 per hour on Oct. 1, 2024.
“World events continue to put upward pressure on the cost of living in Saskatchewan and across Canada,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said in a media release Tuesday. “Our government is committed to ensuring life is affordable for our low-income residents by increasing the minimum wage over the next three years. This commitment to affordability will support Saskatchewan workers, and ensure Saskatchewan is the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Global forces have conspired to push Canada’s inflation rate in March to a new 31-year high of 6.7 per cent.
According to the Retail Council of Canada, Saskatchewan currently has the lowest minimum wage in the country.
Nunavut leads the way at $16 per hour, followed by Yukon ($15.70), Northwest Territories ($15.20), British Columbia ($15.20), Alberta ($15), Ontario ($15), Quebec ($14.25), Prince Edward Island ($13.70), Nova Scotia ($13.35), Newfoundland and Labrador ($13.20), New Brunswick ($12.75), Manitoba ($11.95) and Saskatchewan ($11.81).
B.C.’s minimum wage is set to rise to $15.65 an hour on June 1, part of a new system that indexes the hourly minimum to inflation.
However, if nothing else changes between now and Oct. 1, Saskatchewan will still have the third-lowest minimum wage among the provinces and territories after its increase.
According to Statistics Canada, approximately 3 per cent of Saskatchewan workers received minimum wage in 2018, the latest year for which statistics are available.
The provincial government’s media release said the planned increases over the next three years “reflect a market adjustment, rather than using the province’s traditional indexation formula.”
That formula gives equal weight to changes to the Consumer Price Index and the average hourly wage for Saskatchewan.
According to Statistics Canada, the average hourly wage for employees paid by the hour in Saskatchewan last year, excluding overtime was $27.01. This was the median for all provinces and territories.
The province says the planned increases will align workers’ pay with changing market forces.
“As we continue to grow Saskatchewan, we want to attract quality investments and jobs so that all citizens can benefit,” Morgan said. “Making this change to the minimum wage is a step in that direction.”