WHITEHORSE – Although continuing the link between minimum wage and inflation is a positive step, the Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL) still contends that the base minimum wage rate in Yukon is too low.
“The YFL credits the Yukon government and Yukon’s Employment Standards Board for continuing the link between the minimum wage and the Consumer Price Index,” said Vikki Quocksister, YFL President. ”However those working in minimum wage positions need a move to a living wage now – not just slow increases to keep up with inflation.”
Quocksister made the remarks as a supplement to her written submission to the board in response to its public review. The minimum wage was first linked to inflation in 2005, and has increased annually since that time.
Quocksister said in her submission that she would “urge government to look at extending further increases to the base minimum wage rate as necessary.”
“What Yukon workers need is a minimum wage that actually reflects the high cost of living in Yukon,” said Quocksister. “A minimum wage, after all, should prevent full‐time workers from living below the poverty line.”
The Yukon Bureau of Statistics shows that Whitehorse residents can expect to pay almost half as much again as the average British Columbian for the cost of housing – while residents in Dawson City, Watson Lake, and other communities can expect to pay even higher prices for basic staples. BC’s minimum wage is currently set at $10.25, the letter noted.
Quocksister also cited studies to refute arguments that minimum wage increases were harmful to the business community.
“In actuality Economists are increasingly of the opinion that the minimum wage provides substantial benefits for low‐wage workers without significant long‐term negative effects for the economy,” Quocksister said.