Yukon NDP calls for hike in minimum wage
Yukon's New Democrats are calling for an increase in the minimum wage after British Columbia raised its minimum wage by 75 cents this week to $9.50.
That means Yukon now has the lowest minimum wage in Canada, at $9 an hour. Nunavut has the highest, at $11 an hour.
NDP Opposition Leader Liz Hanson called it "a sad distinction given the bountiful economic opportunities" and said the Yukon rate should be raised immediately to $10 an hour.
"The fact is somebody who's making minimum wage isn't banking it and going on a tropical holiday. They're putting it back in the economy," Hanson said.
"So we should try to ensure there is a basic living minimum wage for people in this territory."
Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, said raising the minimum wage is not a popular idea in the city's business community.
"I think it would be a mistake if we start playing around with the minimum wage and moving it up, because we are in an economic boom," he said, adding that most service industry employers already pay around $11 an hour.
A spokesperson for Premier Darrell Pasloski said the new Yukon Party caucus has not yet had the opportunity to discuss the issue.
Employment standards officials said the minimum wage rate may be reviewed when the fiscal year ends next spring.