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Mixed reaction to Alberta’s minimum wage increase to $15
Published Monday, September 10, 2018 6:05PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 11, 2018 4:02PM MDT
Alberta’s minimum wage will increase to $15 on October 1 — the highest rate in Canada.
The provincial government argues the increase — the third in as many years — will benefit workers and businesses alike, but not all owners agree.
“It’s really putting a lot of pressure on our prices, and there’s only so much that consumers will put up with,” Vienna Bakery owner Brian Jaeger told CTV News.
Jaeger, who employs 16-17 workers, is increasing pastry and bread prices to offset the pay raises.
Ken Kobly, the CEO of Alberta Chambers of Commerce, told CTV News he’s heard businesses may try other tactics to reduce labour costs.
“Businesses telling us that they’re going to take steps in order to try and survive the issue of increasing prices, the [issue] of reducing staff, reducing staff hours, reducing benefits — those are all things that businesses told us that they were going to do.
“This is another increase that’s going to make it much more difficult to survive for a number of them,” Kobly said. “It’s gonna make it very difficult for them to expand their business.”
Brian Flowers, the owner of Table Top Café, where Minister of Labour Christina Gray reminded Albertans of the increase, is on board with the new minimum wage.
“It hits my cost a little bit, but I think the total sales will increase because of it,” Flowers said.
His 19 employees will all get a raise in October, even if they already make more than $15.
Money in the pockets of Albertans
The province’s labour minister, Christina Gray, says the NDP government has supported small businesses through tax cuts, investments, credits and incentives.
The focus here is to give a raise to the nearly 300,000 Albertans who make less than $15 per hour.
“Increasing minimum wage puts more money in the pockets of families, women, working people who are trying to survive in our province.”
Gray said 60 per cent of the people making minimum wage are women, and 33 per cent have kids.
With files from Dan Grummett