On October 28, at the Sask NDP convention, Trent Wotherspoon committed to legislating a $15 minimum wage if elected premier during the leadership debate.
We now have both NDP leadership candidates committed to a $15 wage in Saskatchewan! We must keep the pressure up, and push them to commit to do so within a timeline that helps families immediately. So far we haven’t heard of any of the Sask Party candidates promising remotely the same.
Just this last, minimum wage was raised to $10.96/hour. We went from the lowest minimum wage in Canada to the second lowest. Average wages in Canada, as of April 2017 is $27.95. Canada, we can do better. Saskatchewan, we can do better. A minimum wage of $15 would equate to $31,200 a year. $15 wages could change lives of minimum wage earners in a huge way.
Call on your Sask Party leadership candidates today and challenge them to commit to $15 minimum wage!
Click on the links below for useful materials:
Principles for a decent minimum wage:
Poverty in Saskatchewan
One in ten people living in Saskatchewan lives in poverty – this adds up to a roughly 110, 000 people who struggle each and every day to make ends meet. The Saskatchewan Government has released a Poverty Reduction Strategy, but the strategy does not include an increase to the minimum wage or acknowledge the need for a living wage.
Based on CCPA’s Fight for $15 Min Wage report, 20% (96,000 workers) in Saskatchewan make less than $15/hour.
Child Poverty in Saskatchewan is Staggering
One in four children in Saskatchewan live in poverty. Our child poverty rate has increased over the past 25 years, to the point that it is the second worst in Canada and on the same level with middle-income countries like Romania.
Poverty Does Not Impact People Equally
Saskatchewan has the highest First Nations child poverty rates in all of Canada – an appalling 64% of status First Nations children live in poverty in this province.
People with disabilities, newcomers, single mothers, senior women living alone, and Aboriginal people are more likely to be poor. It is therefore not surprising to find the connection of those who work in low-wage jobs: in Saskatchewan, the majority of people who earn less than $15/hour are women and across Canada, wage gaps are attributed to race, gender, sexual expression, and nationality.
The Minimum Wage Is Not Enough
The Market Basket Measure (MBM) low-income line for a family of four living in Saskatoon is $34,897. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) calculates that a family of four with two children needs an income of about $60,000 – that’s because the MBM does not take into account needs such as childcare, education, and dental care – the kind of things that are accounted for with a living wage.
For a parent working full time at Saskatchewan’s current minimum wage of $10.96/hour, minimum wage pays just over $20,800 per year – that’s roughly $15,000 below the poverty line for a family of four, or $40, 000 below the poverty line in more fair methods of measuring income (such as the living wage method). While the minimum wage has increased annually over the past, these increases are insufficient to keep many families with children out of poverty.
The problem with Saskatchewan’ minimum wage, supposedly meant to reflect the rising cost of living, is that the base wage is not sufficient. In the Minimum Wage Regulations, 2014, it is noted that the base rate of the indexation is $10/hour. It is clear that this base rate did not measure need as so many working people in Saskatchewan continue to live in poverty while working – evidently, Saskatchewan’s indexation calculation is ineffective.
Roughly 31,400 people used a food bank in Saskatchewan as of November, 2016; an increase of 77% since 2008. Food bank use is not just a big city problem: there are 28 food banks in Saskatchewan, most of them located in smaller cities and towns. Peter Gilmer, Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry said that the problem is partly from not having adequate increase to income for low-income people during the boom. 15% of food patrons are employed.
Saskatchewan food bank users:
Poverty Isn’t Cheap
Poverty Costs calculated that, “the cost of poverty in Saskatchewan in 2010 was $3.8 billion in heightened service use and missed opportunities. In that year, Saskatchewan’s gross domestic product was $66 billion. This means that the cost of poverty to our province in 2010 was well over 5% of our GDP.”
Inequality Is Shameful
It is important to understand that the richest 62 people are as wealthy as half of world’s population – 3.6 billion people. In Canada, 86 Canadians have as much as 11.4 million people. It is clear that the 1% aren’t tightening any belts: the average salary of a top 100 CEO is 184 times that of the average Canadian.
So while those earning the minimum wage struggle to make ends meet, the rich keep getting richer.
We Can Win
Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is an effective and important step in addressing poverty and ensuring a better distribution of wealth. Across the U.S. and Canada, workers are coming together to Fight for 15 – and they’re winning – let’s join the fight.
This website is all about engaging and connecting with people who want to Fight for a $15 minimum wage in Saskatchewan. You can sign the petition, receive email updates, check out events, find out your rights, see what’s in the news, get your facts, and so much more! Explore away!