Community Services Minister John Streicker announced that the territory will be reviewing its minimum wage in the next six months, but NDP MLA Kate White said they are only doing it to save face. (Yukon News files)

Yukon’s minimum wage set for review

NDP’s Kate White says review serves as cover for pending look at MLA salaries

The Yukon NDP is accusing the government of only calling for a review of the territory’s minimum wage now to save face ahead of a review of MLA salaries.

“I think they were just trying to avoid the embarrassment at this point of them finishing their review (of MLA’s salaries) and not doing minimum wage,” said NDP MLA Kate White last week.

Community Services Minister John Streicker has announced that the territory will be reviewing its minimum wage in the next six months.

The Yukon’s minimum wage is currently $11.32 per hour. It will increase to $11.51 on April 1, because of current rules that tie it to the Whitehorse consumer price index.

The government says the review is being called now because increases to the minimum wage in other jurisdictions mean the territory would have dropped to seventh place nationally by May. Quebec announced in January that it would be increasing its minimum wage to $12 an hour as of May 1.

A review of the Yukon’s minimum wage is required when the territory drops into the bottom half of jurisdictions.

“Even though it’s two months out, we can all see it coming so I’ve taken this time to reach out to the employment standards board,” Streicker said.

By June the territory would drop even lower in the ranking when B.C. increases its minimum wage to $12.65.

The employment standards board will do the review and make recommendations but the final call for what the Yukon’s minimum wage will be is up to the elected officials.

It will be up to the board to decide how the review is done said Shane Hickey, the territory’s director of employment standards.

The last time the territory’s minimum wage was reviewed was in 2012.

Reviews often include looking at data from the territory and other jurisdictions and consultation with Yukon stakeholders, he said.

White spent much of last sitting calling for a review of the minimum wage. The NDP has been pushing for a $15 minimum wage.

White said she’s feeling a “a mix of elation and maybe disappointment” now that the review is happening.

“If his answer last year, which is ‘I trust the process’ stands, then he would have waited until May … when we dropped.”

White said she “absolutely” thinks the decision to do the review now has to do with MLA pay.

The legislative assembly’s member services board, a committee with representation from all three political parties, has asked for a review of MLA salaries.

The board has contracted with Patrick L. Michael to conduct the review. Michael was clerk of the legislative assembly from 1978 to 2007. He conducted the previous review of salaries and benefits in 2007.

“Mr. Michael’s report has not yet been submitted to MSB,” Floyd McCormick, clerk of the Yukon legislative assembly said in an email last week.

“Once it is, MSB will decide what action should be taken on the report’s findings. MSB will also decide when and how (or if) the report will be made public.”

Any changes to MLAs salaries and benefits would have to be made by amending the Legislative Assembly Act.

Streicker, who is not part of the MSB, said he “didn’t even know” that a review of MLA pay is coming up.

“I don’t believe that those things are related in any way, but I’m sure the NDP is going to think what it’s going to think.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the date when the Yukon’s minimum wage would drop to seventh place nationally. The News regrets the error.

Minimum WageYukon legislative assemblyYukon politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read