Small business owners urge AB government to freeze minimum wage, CFIB says

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by Morinville News staff

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released information Wednesday that indicates eighty-nine per cent of Alberta business owners surveyed want the provincial government to freeze minimum wage at current levels of $13.60 per hour.

Additionally, the business owners surveyed say they are already making significant changes to their business operations prior to the $15 an hour minimum wage Oct. 1.

• 55 per cent have reduced or eliminated plans to hire new/additional workers
• 52 per cent have reduced or eliminated plans to hire young workers
• 46 per cent have raised prices
• 43 per cent have reduced overall staffing hours
• 42 per cent have reduced the number of employees

“Fifteen dollars per hour is a completely arbitrary number that does nothing for employees that are having their hours reduced or are losing their jobs altogether,” said Amber Ruddy, Director of Provincial Affairs, Alberta. “Hikes to entry level wages go too far, too fast and ultimately positions for young workers are disappearing. The Alberta government must be held accountable and hit the pause button until a thorough economic impact assessment is released,” added Ruddy.

Between 2015 and 2018, the minimum wage will have increased a total of 47 per cent with the final increase coming Oct. 1 when it rises by $1.4 from $13.60 to $15.

Recently, Premier Rachel Notley, citing a Statistics Canada Labour Fource survey, has said jobs are on the rise in traditionally minimum wage industries, including retail, restaurants, and accomodations.

“Despite what those in the opposition want to believe, minimum wage increases are good for Albertans AND good for our economy,” the Premier wrote in a Facebook post. “When families see their wage increase, they spend more money locally on meeting their basic needs such as housing, transportation, clothing, school supplies and groceries.”

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