The Alberta NDP are continuing with their plan to hike the Alberta minimum wage despite an internal government document suggesting that significant job loss could be a realistic possibility.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business got a hold of the letter that was written last June after requesting it through Freedom of Information. I had a chance to talk to the Director of Provincial Affairs at CFIB, Amber Ruddy about this request and she says that the NDP should wait until the economy recovers and consider doing more research on the effects of minimum wage hikes before fully implementing their plans.
We also talked about some of the myths about minimum wage hikes including single parents comprising a large number of low income earners, that a wage hike will create jobs and that employees will keep most of their earnings when wages are increased.
Ms. Ruddy confirms the business community is concerned about the effects of a drastic minimum wage hike. At a proposed $15 per hour, that means an extra $4.80 per employee for some businesses. Feedback from the business community suggests over half of small businesses will increase prices and put future hiring on hold. Youth looking for their first jobs will also suffer. Statistics suggest that for every 10% increase in the minimum wage there will be a decrease of between 3% to 6% in youth employment.
There are other ways to help low income earners and it’s obvious that this NDP policy was put in place to gain votes at election time. When the NDP’s own documentation suggests that significant job losses are a reality, it’s clear they should back away from this policy before it brings more economic woes to the province.