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WHITEHORSE – On behalf of small businesses, and the business community at large, the Yukon Party Official Opposition is seeking certainty from the Yukon government about the minimum wage hike outlined in the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) signed by the territorial Liberals and NDP.
Over the past two years, Yukon businesses have been left guessing about how high the minimum wage would increase when the original agreement tied the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). By signing a new CASA, the territorial Liberals have chosen to extend this new arrangement and increase the minimum wage without consultation with the business community. Traditionally, the Employment Standards Board has reviewed the minimum wage with input from the business community, employee representatives, and stakeholders before providing a recommendation to the Yukon government.
However, according to the Yukon Bureau of Statistics, the CPI reached a staggering 8.1 per cent year-over-year as of December 2022, and 6.8 per cent for the 2022 calendar year. Businesses are wondering which figure will be used. The 8.1 per cent figure would see an increase to $16.97 per hour. The 6.8 per cent number would result in a minimum wage of $16.77. Both would be by far the highest in the country.
“Small businesses who are still recovering from the pandemic are wary of any type of uncertainty right now,” said Community Services critic Patti McLeod. “Businesses are dealing with rising operating costs, and budgets are getting tighter. While wage increases are expected, to have this type of hike to their payroll could have adverse effects, especially since they did not have a chance to provide input on such a drastic hike.”
The Yukon Party Official Opposition is calling on the Yukon government to inform businesses as soon as possible, what the minimum wage increase will be on April 1, 2023. Yukon businesses need that information to make informed staffing and business decisions.