Raising minimum wage good for business

Like many Yukoners, I was disappointed in the Liberal government’s recent decision not to undertake a review of Yukon’s minimum wage.

Like many Yukoners, I was disappointed in the Liberal government’s recent decision not to undertake a review of Yukon’s minimum wage.

Recent research by the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition has shown that Yukon’s current minimum hourly wage of $10.25 is far below the “living wage” that is needed needed to provide food, shelter, transportation, clothing, and other necessities. For a family of four living in Whitehorse, with two parents working full-time, an hourly rate of $19.12 per hour is required to make ends meet.

Alberta and Ontario have both committed to implementing a $15 hourly minimum wage, recognizing that many citizens working full-time in low-wage jobs are struggling to provide for their families. This decision was based on significant analysis — two years worth, in the case of Ontario — that showed not only benefits for low-wage earners, but broader positive economic impacts for those provinces.

While critics of a wage increase often lament the impact it would have on small businesses, the reality in Yukon is that most minimum wage earners are employed by big-box stores and franchises like Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire and McDonalds. This is not to say that small business owners would not feel the pinch if minimum wages were increased, but that the extra dollars in the pockets of workers — who are also consumers and contributors to our economy — may have a bigger economic impact.

Will a minimum wage increase also increase household spending for low-wage earners? Would a wage increase help some low-income families reduce their dependence on social services? Would an increases in the minimum wage lead businesses paying slightly above that rate to also increase their wages, creating a “trickle up” effect in the local economy? Should Yukon’s minimum wage continue to be based on the consumer price index, despite the wide gap between the wage rate suggested by this index and the living wage required for working families to make ends meet?

These are important questions. It’s too bad the government isn’t interested in the answers.

Steve Roddick

Whitehorse

Just Posted

Silver rules out HST, layoffs and royalty changes

Yukon’s financial advisory panel has released its final report

City of Whitehorse budgets $30M for infrastructure over four years

‘I think we’re concentrating on the most important things’

Yukon community liaison for MMIWG inquiry fired

Melissa Carlick, the Whitehorse-based community liaison officer for the national Missing and… Continue reading

Yukon man holds no grudge after being attacked by bison

‘The poor guy was only trying to fend off someone who he knew was trying to kill him’

Straight and true: the story of the Yukon colours

Michael Gates | History Hunter Last week, I participated in the 150th… Continue reading

Get ready to tumble: Whitehorse’s Polarettes to flip out at fundraiser

‘There’s a mandatory five-minute break at the end, just so people don’t fall over’

Alaska’s governor goes to China

There are very different rules for resource projects depending on which side of the border you’re on

Yukon survey shows broad support for legal pot

But there’s no consensus on retail and distribution models

Yukon government releases survey on the territory’s liquor laws

Changes could include allowing sale of booze in grocery stores

Get family consent before moving patients to other hospitals: NDP critic

‘Where is the respect and where is the dignity?’

Bill C-17 passes third reading in House of Commons

The bill, which will repeal controversial amendments made to YESAA by Bill S-6, will now go to Senate

White Pass and Yukon Route musical chugs on without director

The cast and crew of Stonecliff are pushing forward without Conrad Boyce, who went on medical leave

Most Read