Unifor recommends Saskatchewan fast-track $15 minimum wage

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REGINA—Unifor has re-issued its call for the Saskatchewan government to immediately increase minimum wage to at least $15 per hour to match neighbouring Alberta.

“Premier Scott Moe has kept Saskatchewan’s minimum wage artificially low,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “Something is wrong when working full-time for the minimum wage in Saskatchewan doesn’t get you above the poverty line.”

Media reports suggest relentless pressure from the Saskatchewan NDP has forced the Moe government to reconsider its freeze on the $11.81 minimum wage, the lowest in Canada.

Saskatchewan has been a laggard when it comes to raising wages for the provinces lowest paid workers. BC, Ontario and even Alberta have moved to raise wages beyond $15 an hour. The sky did not fall. In fact, people had more money to spend in their communities and support local businesses.

Workers in sectors such as retail, wholesale, gaming, warehousing and other service sectors will benefit directly and, in turn, consumer spending at local businesses means communities will reap benefits too, says Unifor.

“A $15 minimum wage is just the first piece in a strategy to get Saskatchewan back on track,” said McGarrigle. “When combined with stronger employment standards and high-quality social services, an increase to the minimum wage can help improve the standard of living in Saskatchewan.”

“Instead of lining party coffers with donations from the wealthy, the Sask Party needs to start putting workers first,” he said.

Unifor has been calling for higher minimum wages for years, including ensuring all workers earn at least $15 an hour and tying the minimum wage to 60% of the median wage of full-time workers.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

To arrange an interview via phone, FaceTime, Zoom or Skype please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at  Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).

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Natalie Clancy

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