Busi­nesses brace for min­i­mum wage hike

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Krystin McHugh The Drumheller Mail

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.”

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