Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sask: Minimum wage to be among the highest in Canada

In a very strange turn of events, the Saskatchewan Party has obtained documents outlining the province's plan to increase the minimum wage. Ugh, this has to be embarrassing for the government.

According to the Saskies, the minimum wage will be increased in stages over the next couple of years as follows:

Sept. 2005 up 40 cents to $7.05;
Mar. 2006 up 50 cents to $7.55;
Mar. 2007 up 40 cents to $7.95.

This is very bad news for small businesses and minimum wage workers in Saskatchewan. The logic that escapes the government (which is a mystery to us) is that the government can force businesses to pay entry-level workers more, but they can't force them not to lay off existing workers.

Every coin has two sides. Increase the state-mandated minimum wage and you increase labour costs for businesses, which in turn will employ fewer workers and charge more for their products. An extra $1.00 added to the minimum wage rate does nothing for the university student who loses her job because the restaurant decided to operate with fewer employees.

If the government wants to help minimum wage earners without causing many to be fired, they should stop taxing the working poor. Kudos to the Saskatchewan Party for getting this exactly right:

Saskatchewan Party Labour Critic Ken Krawetz said the NDP's plan to increase the minimum wage without cutting taxes for low income earners is not good enough.

"We're imploring the Calvert government to implement tax relief for low income earners," Krawetz said.

"We believe that it should be the goal of government to remove minimum wage earners from the tax rolls."

Thanks for getting on board guys!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Considering Saskatchewan has among the lowest cost of living, that is really surprising. They will then have the highest minimum wage in central North America. ($5.15 US = about $6.25 CDN)

Conventional wisdom should suggest that Ontario and British Columbia should have the highest minimum wages, and Manitoba and Saskatchewan the lowest.

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