- Manitoba is set to become the province with the lowest minimum wage later this year, prompting labour groups to call for a living wage for Manitobans.
- According to Rebeck, the provincial minimum wage should be increased by more than 40 cents, putting us in Canada’s middle of the pack.
- According to Labour Minister Reg Helwer, the increase in October is based on the previous year’s inflation rate, as required by law.
Manitoba is fixed to become the province with the least minimum wage later this year, urging labor groups to demand that Manitobans be paid a living wage.
Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will increase from $11.81 to $13 per hour on Oct. 1. Manitoba will be dead last in the nation when it comes to minimum wage, despite a 40-cent rise from $11.95 to $12.35 on Oct. 1.
Monika Vrecar used to work at a bakery for minimum wage four years ago. She can’t imagine living on that with a baby in tow at this point in her life.
“Food is exorbitantly priced, daycare is exorbitantly priced, and everything for a baby is exorbitantly priced,” Vrecar said. “I’ve been assuming about it a lot, but I can’t imagine.”
Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, believes people require a living wage.
“It’s embarrassing; we’ll have Canada’s lowest minimum wage,” Rebeck said.
Rebeck believes the provincial minimum wage should be increased by more than 40 cents, putting us in Canada’s middle of the pack.
“No one should have to work full-time and live in poverty, but that is the reality for far too many people, particularly Manitoba.”
The Stefanson administration claims to be monitoring minimum wages across the country to ensure Manitoba is adequate. According to Labour Minister Reg Helwer, the October increase is based on the inflation rate from the previous year, as required by law.
“So that employers and employees can expect a stable, consistent wage increase,” he explained.
The province also claims that this year’s 40-cent increase is the largest since 2017 and the fifth-largest since 1999.
Small businesses, like workers, are suffering from high food and fuel prices, as well as debt, as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
According to Kathleen Cook of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, a significant increase in the minimum wage could be difficult for some small businesses to absorb.
“They’ll have no option but to raise their prices,” Cook said, “which is concerning for small businesses because there’s a limit to how much of these costs businesses can transfer on to their customers and still stay in business.”
Monica Vrecar favors providing subsidies to small businesses to help them cope with a larger wage increase. She doesn’t want Manitoba to fall behind the rest of the country.
“We don’t have to be last in every category,” Vrecar said, “so I think we should step it up.”
Source: CTV News
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