Using cost-of-living data unique to both cities, such as rental prices, childcare costs, and transportation fees, we calculate 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.
The recent announcement by the Saskatchewan government to raise what is currently the country’s lowest minimum wage ($11.81) to $15 over the next 2 years will be welcome news for minimum wage earners in the province. However, as this report demonstrates, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will continue to fall short of meeting many of the basic needs of families in Saskatchewan until it approaches relative parity with the living wage.
This year’s living wage calculation also demonstrates the positive impact that government investments can have on low-income families. Due to the increase in federal transfers primarily due to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), the living wage required to meet the basic needs of families in Regina and Saskatoon is less than it otherwise would have been. This is a powerful reminder to employers that a key way they can reduce the payroll costs of the living wage is to advocate for progressive policy changes to increase government benefits to low-income earners and enhance public services that improve quality of life for all families.