Canada is a 1st World country. We have resources; we have the rule of law and a peaceful democracy; we have universal Medicare; we have social safety nets for those unable to support themselves. Where we may fall short is ensuring liveable incomes for many who do work for a living. The minimum wage in Saskatchewan is $10.72/hour and will be $10.96/hour October 1st. Alberta’s minimum wage is $12.20/hour and will rise October 1 to $13.60 and then to $15 a year later. There’s been a lot of talk about whether a $15 per hour minimum wage should be in place everywhere and if so, is it bad or good for the economy.
Opinions are mixed. Critics warn that a $15 minimum wage would mean job losses. However, some economists say that isn’t necessarily going to happen unless there is an economic downturn. Obviously there is an economic cost to higher wages but apparently studies have shown that when the minimum wage is around half or less of the average wage the impact on employment is limited. In 2016 the average hourly wage in this province was $26.56. That means we could support a minimum wage of $13.28 if the studies are correct. Economists agree that many people making minimum wage would turn around and spend the extra money they’d be earning. One economics professor says if you give money to somebody who’s rich, they’ll probably just save it, they won’t spend it. You give money to a low wage worker and they’ll spend that money, that money will go right back into the economy, and that’s the logic behind a higher minimum wage.