Sask. government proposes special adjustment on minimum wage

A special adjustment on the province’s minimum wage could be announced within days, according to Premier Scott Moe

During Question Period Monday, Moe said the provincial government is actively looking to address affordability for low income families.

Moe said the marketplace adjustment to the minimum wage is under active consideration by the Sask. government and the details will be available in an official announcement in the next few days. He said this would go above and beyond the formula that has been in place for some time.

“We are looking at what can we do as a government to support Saskatchewan families. This is one area,” he said.

Saskatchewan's current minimum wage is $11.81 with Alberta and Ontario at the $15 mark. 

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) isn’t sure $15 an hour is even enough anymore.

“The cost of living in our major centres in Saskatchewan is closer to $20 if not more than $20 an hour so we know that $15 isn’t enough,” said Lori Johb, president of SFL.

The premier said there will be consultation with businesses and workers but a decision may have already been made.

NDP MLA Nicole Saurer said their government has been calling for an increase in minimum wage for a long time.

“It is something that has largely popular support. It would substantially improve the lives of the people of this province,” she said.

She said she also feels the timing of the premier’s announcement is interesting.

“I think it shows that the proposal our finance critic put forward today is an interesting one and one that has a lot of support and I think he’s nervous,” said Saurer.

NDP PROPOSES COST-OF-LIVING DIVIDEND

To address affordability in the province, NDP leader Ryan Meili and NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon proposed a Windfall Profits Surcharge of one per cent when industries reach massive profits.

This one per cent surcharge would allow the government to scrap the PST increase and rebate $125 million by way of cost-of-living dividends to every household in the province, according to a release.

The NDP proposed the one per cent surcharge to apply on WTI oil prices exceeding $90 (US) per barrel and/or potash prices exceeding $700 (CDN) per K20 tonne.

“A modest windfall profits surcharge will continue to ensure the success and profitability of our critically important energy and potash sectors while providing much-needed relief to Saskatchewan people and leaving a lasting legacy,” said Wotherspoon. “These resources belong to the people of Saskatchewan.”