The NDP government is putting thousands of businesses and jobs for Alberta’s most vulnerable at risk by passing regulations to make dramatic increases to the minimum wage during one of the worst economic downturns in decades, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
The NDP government has refused to release any detailed economic analysis about the consequences of making rapid increases to Alberta’s minimum wage, however, an internal government memo released last December warned that the $15 minimum wage could result in “significant job losses.”
“Over 4,100 businesses have shut down in Calgary so far this year, while 8,500 jobs were lost just last month in Edmonton. By making it even more costly for employers to create jobs, the NDP have completely abandoned their duty to do no further harm when Albertans are already hurting,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “Instead of supporting Alberta’s low income families, this government has put their jobs in jeopardy and Albertans are rightly worried.”
Wildrose Battle River-Wainwright MLA Wes Taylor introduced a motion in the legislature last spring that would have postponed implementing a planned increased until a full study of its effects on employment rates was completed. The motion was voted down by NDP members.
“We pleaded with the NDP to put the brakes on their drastic minimum wage increase and listen to common sense for the good of the people we’re trying to support, like vulnerable workers across the province,” Wildrose Shadow Jobs Minister Grant Hunter said. “We asked them to do an economic impact study. Their response was to assess as we go. By the time this government figures it out it may be too little and too late for struggling Albertans.”
Quick Facts on the NDP minimum wage increase:
- Alberta’s minimum wage is currently the second highest among the provinces, at only 5 cents behind Ontario.
- Both the Edmonton and Calgary Chamber of Commerce have highlighted that increasing the minimum wage will not be effective in helping Alberta’s low income families.
- Restaurants Canada warned that 75 per cent of the association’s Alberta members expect sales to continue to drop over the next six months and that a minimum wage increase will lead to further job loss.
- The Canadian Federation of Independent Business cited studies showing how a $15 minimum wage could create a 14 to 28 per cent increase in youth unemployment here in Alberta.