August 14, 2017

Economic impact study needed on minimum wage, following release of Ontario report: UCP

A troubling new study looking at the effects of increasing the minimum wage to $15 in Ontario should be mirrored in Alberta as soon as possible, the United Conservative Party caucus said today.

The independent study was commissioned by Keep Ontario Working Coalition – an independent business group that includes the Ontario Chamber of Commerce – and found the increase will cost the average Ontario household $1,300 a year and eliminate up to 185,000 jobs.

Glenn van Dijken and Richard Gotfried, the United Conservative Party caucus’ jobs critics, said bulldozing ahead with a $15 minimum wage in Alberta without an economic impact study in hand is foolhardy and irresponsible.

“The viability of thousands of businesses and jobs could hang in the balance,” van Dijken said. “An economic impact study released publicly is the bare minimum level of responsibility needed here. Alberta businesses and workers deserve to know what’s in store.”

Alberta’s minimum wage is set to increase to $13.60 this Oct., then again to $15 next Oct. Gotfried said vulnerable workers could end up paying the price for the risky NDP policy.

“Businesses can barely catch their breath with these year-over-year increases, and they’re doing their best, but cost-cutting is evident almost everywhere you go,” Gotfried said. “Sadly, non-profit workers and vulnerable workers, mainly youth and seniors, are paying the price. Albertans deserve better from a government that promised to protect workers.”

In Dec. 2015, an internal NDP government memo warning of “significant job losses” from increasing the minimum wage was made public.