Wildrose using Seattle study as call for NDP to review $15 minimum wage

MLA Glenn van Dijken – Morinville News File Photo

by Morinville News Staff

The Wildrose is calling on the NDP to conduct an economic impact study on the next minimum wage increase planned for Alberta this fall.

Citing a new study from the University of Washington, the Wildrose claim Seattle’s experiment with a $15 minimum wage has led to steep declines in employment, hourly cutbacks for those working, and lower monthly cheques due to reductions.

Seattle’s minimum wage is currently $13 an hour. Alberta’s minimum wage will rise to $13.60 in October and $15 in 2018.

“This is a perfect example of the kind of strict ideology and disregard for common sense the NDP has brought with it into government,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said in a release Tuesday. “A 50 per cent minimum wage hike is too much for businesses to bear. The NDP has been given fair warning. At the very least, the government needs to conduct an economic impact study on the effects of these hikes, before it imposes any more increases.”

Wildrose Shadow Jobs Minister and Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Glenn van Dijken said he believes the NDP failed Alberta businesses and workers by only pretending to consult on the $15 minimum wage.

“There was never any real consultation done with businesses or workers. The NDP had its mind made up from the start,” van Dijken said. “Given Seattle offers small businesses a lower wage cost, Alberta’s regime is even less flexible and could be more punitive to low-wage workers. I hope the NDP will take this report seriously. The Alberta economy needs to catch its breath before this government implements any more destructive, ideological policies.”

Alberta currently has the second highest minimum wage in the country with Nunavut currently at $13 an hour. Alberta’s $12.20 per hour is $1.45 per hour higher than the lowest in the country in Quebec, Newfoundland & Labrador, which offer workers $10.75 per hour.

The NDP say 78 per cent of Alberta’s more than 300,000 minimum wage earners are permanent employees, 62 per cent are women, and 38 per cent are families with children.

Minimum wage will rise to $13.60 on Oct. 1, 2017.

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1 Comment

  1. An unsurprising response, but many journalists, academics and public policy institutes have already debunked the WU study, and it clearly stands alone against a mountain of opposing evidence. What the literature has pretty well unanimously found is minimum wage hikes improve worker pay, increase worker productivity, decrease social program spending and, generally, make everyday folks’ lives better. (One example: http://fortune.com/2017/06/27/seattle-minimum-wage-study-results-impact-15-dollar-uw/ )

    It is a bit rich to me that van Dijken is talking about the provinces’ consultation process. Well I’ll consult for you, because I have lived it. Living on minimum wage is near impossible without relying on public services, even just for one person. Trying to raise a family on a minimum wage (near 40% of minimum wage workers) is a pipe dream. The shocking lack of compassion for what these families are going through (children missing meals, parents breaking working many part-time jobs) from Glenn and his party is the travesty here.

    Nobody who works full time should starve, full stop. $15 is a living wage in this province, and thats what people should make. It is, in the long term, good for workers, for business and for our communities.

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