REGINA - The Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates that a family of four would require a living wage of $16.23 per hour for Regina and $16.89 per hour for Saskatoon in order to maintain a decent standard of living in each respective city. The living wage reflects what people need to support their families based on the actual costs of living in a specific community.
“While the recent announcement by the Saskatchewan government to increase the minimum wage from $11.81 to $15 over the next two years demonstrates that the government understands that the current minimum wage is inadequate, it still falls short of what is necessary,” states CCPA Saskatchewan Director Simon Enoch. “Even with these increases, families will continue to be unable to meet many of their basic needs until Saskatchewan’s minimum wage approaches relative parity with the living wage.”
While the living wage calculation is based on the needs of two-parent families with young children, it would also support a family throughout life so that young adults are not discouraged from having children and older workers have some extra income as they age. The living wage gets families out of severe financial stress by lifting them out of poverty and providing a basic level of economic security. But it is also based on a conservative, bare-bones budget without the extras many of us take for granted.
The main reason for the difference in the living wage rates between the two cities is Saskatoon’s higher childcare costs. “On average, annual childcare costs in Saskatoon are over a thousand dollars more than in Regina,” Enoch said. “As the federal and provincial government’s program to reduce childcare fees to $10 per day comes into effect, we should see these costs reduced and equalized between the two cities.” This shows how government investments in social programs can positively influence how much a family needs to earn in the private labour market to meet their basic needs.
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Contact Simon Enoch:
Mobile: (306) 502-0363
Office: (306) 924-3372