Whitehorse Daily Star

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Pictured above: KATE WHITE

Government is ‘short-changing’ minimum wage workers: White

The Yukon’s minimum wage workers deserve better than $13.71 an hour, NDP Leader Kate White said Thursday.

By Whitehorse Star on February 28, 2020

The Yukon’s minimum wage workers deserve better than $13.71 an hour, NDP Leader Kate White said Thursday.

The new wage, up $1 from the current one, will take effect April 1, the territorial government said last week.

Speaking from Dawson City, White said the increase is inadequate.

“It’s simply unacceptable that someone working full-time at minimum wage can’t afford to live in the Yukon,” she said.

“The Liberal government is short-changing minimum wage workers by ignoring the Employment Standard Board recommendation to increase it by $1 plus inflation.

“This 0.25$ difference may seem like nothing to the minister (John Streicker), but it represents over $500 per year to a person earning the lowest pay in the Yukon.

“It’s a significant amount for many minimum wage workers who are already struggling to make ends meet,” White added.

In 2019, she pointed out, the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition established Whitehorse’s living wage at $19.07 – more than $5 above the minimum wage.

“This government is out-of-touch with Yukon’s most vulnerable workers,” White said.

“And despite what some may say, most Yukon businesses understand that a business model that requires your employees to live in poverty is not a sustainable business model.

“We will support small businesses through this transition but we will not let big corporations from down south pay poverty wages to Yukon workers while taking their profits out of the territory.”

If she is elected premier in the election scheduled for 2021, White said, “I will make it an absolute priority to close the gap between the minimum wage and a living wage.

“This starts with immediately implementing the Employment Standards Board recommendation to bring the minimum wage over $15 by next year.”

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday the territory’s new minimum wage brings pay close to the “danger zone identified in a YG-commissioned economic impact study released in January.”

See story on median salaries this website.

Comments (15)

Up 12 Down 1

yukonblonde on Mar 3, 2020 at 9:44 pm

Whitehorse richard is spot on. A block of cheese in Australia costs a fraction of what it costs in Yukon. And this is even in the remote places where the cost of trucking and fuel is just as much as it is here in Canada.
Canada needs to do something about the rising cost of living. It has gotten insanely more expensive even in the 8 years I have been in the yukon.

Up 16 Down 1

My Opinion on Mar 2, 2020 at 7:54 pm

@W.R.
Ranchers are not getting the money for the meat. Check out what the go for on the hoof at an auction.
Gas costs 88 cents a litre in Edmonton. It has gone up and down a bunch but not in Whitehorse. That should be checked into. Check out Gas Buddy.

Up 14 Down 2

Mark on Mar 2, 2020 at 7:30 pm

The government is it’s own worst enemy. By the lack of release of land to develop, the more real estate will soar in price. At the same time poverty gets worse and worse. Minimum wage is not to raise a family on. It is to enter a job market and gain skills. To pay a person $15/hr actually costs the employer around $20/hr or more even. The government also shoots itself in the foot filling jobs with foreign workers and even subsidizing them in some cases. As far as automated tellers goes...... if you want something done right....do it yourself. That’s what I do.

Up 13 Down 2

Original Taxpayer on Mar 2, 2020 at 6:04 pm

Will the 15% of Yukon voters on fixed income receive the hike as well or are we just supposed to lose weight?

Up 9 Down 21

Miles Epanhauser on Mar 2, 2020 at 4:15 pm

We cannot raise minimum wage because business owners pay tax on vacation homes and luxury cars are very expensive.

Up 0 Down 8

Bree Gaell on Mar 2, 2020 at 4:03 pm

Easy extra income for all. Try paid surveys and other.

https://www.ysense.com/?rb=59429643

Up 27 Down 2

Whitehorse Richard on Mar 2, 2020 at 8:44 am

At some point our political leaders need to understand their circular reasoning will not succeed in solving these income problems. I for one would like to see both politicians and government employees focused on keeping our cost of living down. Why is rent so expensive, oh, because government has not kept up with lots available for development to keep supply and demand stable for housing. In Whitehorse the wait list is what ten, twenty people deep for each rental property these days?

Why are our food costs so high and increasing in costs each month? My family just goes to window shop for protein at the local grocery store these days. What used to cost $10 a year ago, now costs $25. Is this the collapse of the Canadian dollar or some other government program epiphany?
Why are fuel costs increasing so high to keep us warm in the winter, especially when global fuel prices are decreasing?

Just for your information politicians and government employees, when you increase the minimum wage, that increases the cost of everything associated with the wage. Hence, costs go up, which requires another minimum wage increase.

Up 14 Down 3

SheepChaser on Mar 2, 2020 at 8:31 am

Automation will make minimum wage irrelevant very soon. Haven't heard a single bit of strategic vision to deal with the real problem from any party. Old politicians stuck in the old paradigm. Broadening access to higher education and eliminating fees with the associated debt they cause would be a priority for any competent government. Sadly, competence is no longer a skill required of the political class in Canada.

Up 16 Down 1

YukonMax on Mar 2, 2020 at 7:15 am

It's all good to tell people to get an education and get better paying jobs.
Would it mean that the jobs the minimum wage workers are holding aren't needed anyways? If they are, can they all be filled with students? Has anyone ever offered a minimum wage job to a YUKON STUDENT? How did that go?

Up 17 Down 7

Woodcutter on Mar 1, 2020 at 10:14 pm

When it says YG commissioned it means we the tax payer paid for this study it does not mean it's the YG perspective.
Does anyone else find it gross that the business community as represented by the Chamber of Commerce gets a handout, to pay its buddies to create a report that advocates for poverty wages?

I've been self employed off and on all my life and the Chamber of Commerce does not represent me.
I pay well over the minimum and think I should for the skill sets and level of effort required.

I retail business is going with the self checkout because someone, unless they are desperate, will work for this wage. I refuse to use the self checkout.

Up 18 Down 4

Salt on Mar 1, 2020 at 2:51 pm

Real estate/housing is far and away the greatest source of economic stress for Yukoners below upper-middle class. I haven’t seen a single political party come forward with a strong proposal to provide enough development to meet demand and return to a policy of selling land for development cost only. Forcing wage increases will help a few a very small amount and result in some jobs disappearing. Without fixing the intentionally broken real estate ‘market’ wage increases will be swallowed up by further housing inflation. Politicians can’t get past their personal greed to do what is required. Proof of how much they ‘care’ about the issue.

Up 39 Down 14

Brian on Feb 29, 2020 at 4:18 pm

Not sure if you noticed but Minimum wage is a basic, lowest you can pay a human to work. After probationary periods, and after your first year, a person would be several dollars above Minimum wage.
This is not the U.S.S.R or China or Uruguay, this is not a socialist or communist society.
If you want to earn more. Learn more, show up to work ready to work. Be clean and presentable, respectful to coworkers and customers.
If not, stay at the bottom of the ladder.
There's no law that says you have to stay at that crap job, if you don’t like your job look for one you do like.

Up 38 Down 10

Matthew on Feb 29, 2020 at 6:09 am

I love when people making 100K a year tell people making 25K a year that a $1 rise is simply not good enough.. oh the irony..

Up 33 Down 9

Darrell Drugstore's smartest neighbour on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:19 pm

Would the last retail cashier in WH please turn out the lights when
he is replaced by scanning station.

Up 35 Down 44

Nicky on Feb 28, 2020 at 4:09 pm

Translation: 'That meager minimum wage hike won't increase inflation fast enough, we can do better; Vote NDP'

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