EDMONTON – Minimum wage across the Prairies is going up, with raises in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba set to take effect on October 1.
Alberta’s hike in the minimum hourly rate is the highest, where the current $13.60 an hour will rise to $15 – becoming the highest minimum wage in the country.
In Manitoba, the minimum hourly wage will climb 20 cents from $11.10 to $11.35.
Saskatchewan’s lowest-wage earners will see the smallest raise, with the minimum pay rising 10 cents from $10.96 to $11.06 an hour.
Alberta’s NDP government has raised the minimum wage every year from $10.20 an hour when they were elected in 2015.
Manitoba says this year’s increase is based on the province’s inflation rate in 2017, while Saskatchewan says its minimum wage is also indexed based on inflation, as well as the average hourly wage for Saskatchewan.
“Since 2011, we have been able to provide predictable annual minimum wage increases, allowing employers and employees to prepare and plan for change,” Saskatchewan Labour Minister Don Morgan said in a release Friday.
“Saskatchewan also has a low personal income tax rate and low income tax credit, helping low income earners keep more money in their pockets.”
Premier Rachel Notley has defended Alberta’s rising minimum wage, telling an audience earlier this year that she questions any restaurant that serves high-end food while fighting a fair wage for staff who may otherwise have to rely on charity to make ends meet.
But on Thursday, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business listed Alberta’s minimum wage raise among the reasons for small business confidence in the province being below the national average on its monthly business barometer in September.
It also listed pipeline delays among the reasons.
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government said Wednesday that it will halt a planned increase to minimum wage that was to kick in next year, following up on a promise made during the spring election campaign.
Labour Minister Laurie Scott said the minimum wage will remain at $14 an hour rather than rising to $15 as planned by the previous Liberal government.