Above: Minister Christina Gray with Lynsae Moon-Davies, co-owner of the Nook Café.
by Morinville News Staff
The Government of Alberta raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour Oct. 1, a move it says will help “hard-working families make ends meet and build an economy that works for everyone.”
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.
“Every hard-working Albertan deserves to be paid fairly. The $15 minimum wage will make life more affordable for women, single parents, families and everyone who has been working a full-time job or more but is still struggling to put food on the table and pay their rent,” said Christina Gray, Minister of Labour. “I’m proud that we are delivering on our commitment to everyday Albertan families.”
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.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says entry-level minimum wage employees now cost Alberta employers an additional $10,739 per year compared to 2015 from the added wage costs and higher payroll taxes (CPP, EI, WCB). As such, a small business with 10 minimum wage employees will see their annual costs rise by more than $107,000 as a result of the government’s plan.
“Thanks to the government aggressively ratcheting up the legislated floor on wages, entry-level jobs have become much more costly for employers to create,” said CFIB Alberta Director Amber Ruddy in a release Monday morning. “It’s simple economics. When the cost of hiring suddenly gets a lot more expensive, there will be less of it. The government’s plan has put current and future entry-level jobs at risk.”
The CFIB sees the increase in minimum wage as one of the factors affecting small business confidence in the province.
They report that although their monthly Business Barometer index had an almost one-point uptick in September for Alberta, overall small business confidence was the worst in the country at 54.8, a number 6.6 points below the national average.
The business group says Alberta’s employment picture weakened in September. The number of survey respondents planning to cut staff was up five points to 18 per cent, while the number planning to hire dropped four points to nine per cent.