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$15 minimum wage a job killer for Atlantic’s youth

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Halifax, October 5, 2017 – Increasing the minimum wage to $15 in all of the Atlantic provinces would disproportionately hurt young workers, potentially resulting in 12,700 to 28,900 youth job losses in the whole region, according to a new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“While hiking the minimum wage may sound like a good idea, mounting evidence shows it is a job killer,” said Jordi Morgan, CFIB Atlantic vice-president. “A $15 minimum wage will particularly affect employment opportunities for Atlantic’s youth, a segment of the population who already face significantly higher unemployment.”

Currently, over 60 per cent of minimum wage workers in Canada are young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Past research has shown that as the minimum wage rises, young workers are the most impacted. Employers will often choose to hire fewer younger workers or rely more heavily on more experienced workers, as wage costs increase.

Using 2016 Labour Force Survey data, CFIB’s report examines the effects of a $15 minimum wage in each province.  Nationally — if all provinces jumped to a $15 minimum wage — between 184,800 and to 422,400 youth jobs would be put at risk. These estimates include the number of direct job losses and as well as the drop in the number of jobs being created.

“The vast majority of employees who work for CFIB members earn above the current minimum wage. However, there are sectors employing large numbers of young people and students, for example retail and hospitality which don’t have the margins to absorb large, rapid increase to the minimum wage,” Morgan added. “Even businesses already paying at least $15 per hour are telling us they’ll be forced to cut the jobs of younger and lower-skilled workers to accommodate raises in higher wage categories.”

For the complete analysis including methodology, download the report here.

For more information, contact Jordi Morgan, Vice-president Atlantic, at 902-420-1997

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 12,000 in Atlantic.