Businesses brace for minimum wage hike
As of October 1, minimum wage in Alberta has gone from $11.20 to $12.20, making Alberta’s minimum wage one of the highest in Canada. The effect will vary for employees and locally owned businesses.
Nataly Gincher, owner of Shopper’s Drug Mart, said, “I know there are a lot of people who feel that this is a good thing. It is a good thing for employees however it could affect quality of service in a negative way.”
With a rising minimum wage, business owners have to find a way to make up the additional costs this will pose. That leaves big decisions for local businesses. Price increases on products or cutting employee’s hours have been the most effective way to make up these costs in the past.
Ms. Gincher explained, “Businesses will need to cut costs somehow and usually that results in either raising prices or having fewer employees working at a time. Having fewer employees can result in longer lines at tills with fewer cashiers. Dirty public washrooms would happen because employees won’t have time to clean them. Cleanliness in general can suffer because there will be fewer people to help and every employee would be caring for customers all the time.”
Places in the city like Cineplex Theatres are already seeing ripple effects. According to their website, there has already been an increase to the price of tickets of up to 51 cents a ticket. Only time will tell the direct impact minimum wage increases will have on the community of Drumheller.
Minimum wage has been on the rise for the last decade. Since 2005 minimum wage has increased 10 times in Alberta, rising from $7 per hour to $12.20 per hour. According to the NDP’s proposed plan, October’s hike is the first of at least three raises. Christian Gray, Alberta’s Minister of Labour said, “We’re committed to bringing Alberta’s general minimum wage up to $15 per hour to give lower-income Albertans the ability to support their families.”