The Carillon brings you the weekly news from the University of Regina.
by James Ferguson
University students would be vastly affected by a change to minimum wage.
The Minimum Wage Review Board (MWRB) recently met to discuss the minimum wage situation in Saskatchewan.
Minimum wage can be revised by the provincial government acting of the MWRB recommendations. This gives the government the opportunity to accept or reject the proposed ideas for a variety of reasons.
According to Mary Sutherland, a member on the MWRB, ³the MWRB has been in effect since the Second World War, and it is an ongoing process.²
The review board is comprised of five people who are completely neutral on government affairs.
Two are from the business community, two from the labour community, and the fifth person is a neutral party, to ensure a balanced viewpoint. The minimum wage review board members are paid a small gratuity to compensate for time away from their work or family commitments as the responsibilities associated with the review board requires a large commitment.
Sutherland, a board member for five years, explains that generally ³labour groups and students are in favour of a minimum wage increase,² as an increase can help people meet university and living expenses, and benefit the general population as well. Business and tax-payer groups are on the opposite end of the spectrum. ³Stating an increase would mean more costs to their businesses,² she added.
The board compares the information with other minimum wage enticements from other provinces, and they study the economic impact of a wage increase on the provincial municipal level. Sutherland pointed out that ³a wage increase can have more impact on rural communities that on urban communities, due to the differences in urban and rural economic bases.²
The MWRB evaluates all the pros and cons of a proposed wage increase, and looks at different community groupıs presentations. The board then submits their recommendations to the Labour Minister and the provincial government. The government can reject the recommendations on grounds of insufficient information or if the minimum wage increase recommendation is too high or too low.
³The government,² said Sutherland, ³holds cabinet meetings to review the minimum wage review boardıs recommendations, and they decide which parts of the recommendations to act on, and if satisfied with the boardıs findings, the government will enact the minimum wage increase as law.² The government will also ask the minimum wage review board to continue to reassess the recommendations at the next board meeting, and hold more hearings from all the concerned parties involved to make new recommendations when the situation calls for it.
Currently, there is no minimum wage increase in sight yet, ³but the board has been holding hearings since January of this year,² says Sutherland. It will continue to review all the information needed to submit a final recommendation to the provincial government.
Questions or comments? Email Erin Mazur, Acting Technology Co-Ordinator.