UCP says minimum wage hike hurts workers and small business,

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by Morinville News Staff

The United Conservative Party are criticizing Monday’s $1.40 hike in minimum wage, a provincial move that brings Alberta’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, the highest in the country.

The UCP argue that the increase was too quick and lacked consideration of the economic effects.

“The NDP government failed to take the impact on workers into consideration,” said UCP Economic Development and Jobs critic Richard Gotfried, MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek. “A minimum wage hike does not help workers if one’s job is destroyed as a consequence of that hike. Raising labour costs for small businesses at a time when many are still struggling to attract customers in a frail economy, on top of other rising costs, makes it harder for both workers and small businesses to get ahead.”

The UCP cite Restaurants Canada information released Oct. 1 that show a 5.1 per cent decrease in the average hours worked between 2015 and 2018 for Alberta foodservice workers. The same information shows a 13,300 employee drop in the foodservice and accommodation sector and a 10 per cent decrease in the number of employees per restaurant.

UCP Labour Critic Grant Hunter said the NDP government pushed the labour changes through without consideration for how workers would be impacted or without a proper economic impact assessment.

“A nearly 50 per cent hike in just three years has been proven hard for employers to absorb, and workers pay the price in the end,” Hunter said “We remain particularly concerned for young Albertans looking to join the labour market and other vulnerable Albertans.”

The Government of Alberta says more than a quarter million Albertans, 11 per cent of all workers, earn less than $15 per hour. Of that quarter million, 24 per cent are students. Another 40 per cent are aged 20 to 34, and 12 per cent are 55 and older. Sixty-three per cent are women and 53 per cent work full time.

Youth unemployment in Alberta currently stands at nearly 12 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

Monday’s increase raises the minimum wage by $1.40 an hour from $13.60 to $15 and raises the income of a minimum wage earner who works 40 hours per week by $2,912. The current increase brings Alberta’s minimum wage to the highest in the country.

Click here for our Oct. 1 story on the minimum wage increase.

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9 Comments

  1. That’s like saying Don’t Give Women The Vote, it’ll only skew the outcome. Time to join the 21st century. As a manager much of my life, I have always advocated for higher wages for those who have earned it. If you cannot afford to pay workers $15.00 per hour you might be in the wrong business.

    • Where I agree here in a sense. Higher wages if they “ earn “ it……………….

      Why should someone get paid 15$ a hour if they don’t earn it… basically have no choice now.

      I guess it’ll just be higher turn over rate till they find the person who can do the job quick and efficient.

      I also think there should be a lower wage for kids getting their first job ect.

      Imo a kid in highschool shouldn’t get the 15$ a hour with no skill. ( I doubt they’ll even be able to get the job in the first place )

  2. There is many ways to looks at this issue..
    The problem is in order for most businesses (restaurants,Automotive,gas stations, hardware stores – basically anyone with lots of min wage employees) in order to maintain the proper profit margins you will have to raise the price of goods..
    if employment expenses go up, profit margins goes down. So to keep profit margins the same , price of goods must go up (or cuts elsewhere) especially if the business owners want to maintain their profit margins , they have to raise the price of goods..

    Use Mcdonalds for example .. they have officially raised their prices on most menu items on October 1st and 2-3 years ago you could easily get a meal for $7-$8 your lucky to get that same meal for $10-$11 now. It’s a slow economy for most albertans, yet min wages raises from $12.20 to $15 in 2 years.. so this has caused prices to go up across the board – while everyone else’s wages have remained the same or have gone down ..

    Most restaurants are modifying food/protein portion sizes to help maintain the costs. Basically getting less food for more money ..

    It’s turning into keep costs the same and make less money for the business or raise the prices and worry about doing less business/income because people might not make as many purchases…

    The new min wage is turning in the max wage, in a lot of work places. No room for raises, just more work and more pressure from managers/owners to exceed or be replaced.. because there is now a lot of people out there what will work for $15 a now , not just students .

  3. The problem with this is the only people really getting screwed is the middle class. entry level workers and minimum wage earners get a big boost in their pay level which will result in higher costs of goods and higher cost of living. Middle class earners get nothing so we see higher cost of living and higher costs of goods without any wage increase. we went from $10 an hour to $15 an hour and middle-class wages stayed the same. So now I have to figure out how to absorb the cost of this higher minimum wage. Minimum wage jobs were never intended to earn a living on. Minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs with no skill necessary.

  4. More disposable income for the people making the least can only help the economy. Those same businesses that pay minimum wage see a big spike in new business when people can suddenly afford the things they’re selling. People making minimum wage now might be able to afford to eat out or order in once or twice a month, whereas it wasn’t possible before. The best way to improve an economy is to give more money to the people who are going to spend it instead of it all going into the pockets of those who hoard it.

    • Ok then!!! lets see Darren if you can make sense of this, Re; your comment “People making minimum wage now might be able to afford to eat out or order in once or twice a month, whereas it wasn’t possible before”
      Lets say that last year meals and things cost $10.00 after the minimum wage increase meals and things cost $13.00 What do you think caused the meals things to rise?? Darren… Please reread Paul’s comment for a hint. (Key Words.. Profit Margin)
      Re the economy… ridding ourselves of the current Federal and Provincial Governments would be a start to economic improvement!

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