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Area businesses preparing for increases in minimum wage

Minimum wage to increase 27 per cent by 2024
Minimum wage increase
Don Morgan speaks to media in Saskatoon on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The Saskatchewan government is planning to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. Morgan, who is labour relations minister, says the increase is meant to make life more affordable for peoples as the cost of living continues to increase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

On October 1, the provincial minimum wage will increase from $11.81 to $13.00 per hour.

On October 1, 2023, minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour and on October 1, 2024, it will increase to $15 per hour. This will represent a 27 per cent increase to the minimum wage by 2024.

Frazer Will, Owner/Manager of Rawhides Restaurant in Stenen, said it’s a great move for those who earn minimum wage.

“With the price of everything increasing, it’s tougher for everyone. It’s just the way things have to move for people to be able to buy what they need to buy,” shared Will. “If someone has to drive 20 or 30 kilometres just to work, the fuel alone takes a big chunk out of the pie.”

Rawhides has anywhere from 20 to 30 employees, depending on the time of year. Younger staff start at minimum wage, while more experiences staff work their way well above that.

“For businesses like us our prices will probably have to reflect that minimum wage increase, but we’ll have to cope. The prices paid have to be according to the cost of production,” explained Will. “Hopefully it makes us a bit more competitive in the job market when we’re hiring, but in the end we’ll probably be about the same spot we have been up till now in the labour market if everyone else increase their wages as well.”

Brad Chambers, Gateway Co-op General Manager, stated that the rising minimum wage will have a minimal effect on their day-to-day operations or their labour costs.

“We have a wage scale that team members can move quickly through.  We have approximately 125 team members,” concluded Chambers.

“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 release. “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.”

The increases to minimum wage reflect a market adjustment, rather than using the province’s traditional indexation formula. The indexation formula gives equal weight to changes to the Consumer Price Index and Average Hourly Wage for Saskatchewan. However, for this year as well as 2023 and 2024, the increase to minimum wage will reflect a move to more closely align workers’ salaries with changing market forces.

“As we continue to grow Saskatchewan, we want to attract quality investments and jobs so that all citizens can benefit. Making this change to the minimum wage is a step in that direction,” Morgan concluded.

In 2007 the minimum wage in the province was $7.95, and by 2024 there will have been a total increase to the rate of nearly 89 per cent.