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CFIB challenges Premier's minimum wage assertions

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CALGARY, April 26, 2016 – Contrary to the government’s belief, the prevailing story that a large number of minimum wage earners are single parents is a myth. On Thursday, Premier Notley justified the government’s plans to press ahead with their $15 minimum wage proposal by claiming: “it is not appropriate for a single parent to work 50 or 60 hours a week and have to stop at the food bank two or three times every week to feed their family.”

According to the most recent Minimum Wage Profile published by the provincial government, 38,600 people earn minimum wage. Statistics Canada says 1.5% are single parents with children under the age of 18, that’s roughly fewer than 600 people.

“If the government really wants to help the tiny fraction of full-time minimum wage earners trying to support a family, why not take steps immediately and exempt them from having to pay income tax and focus on provincial support programs?,” said Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s Alberta director. "The province should stop taking a slice off the paycheques of individuals on minimum wage, instead of passing the buck to business owners or consumers.”

Alberta’s small business community has been concerned about the $15 minimum wage policy since it was proposed. Key concerns include:

  1. The Alberta government’s own advisors say: "it's reasonable to assume significant job loss is one realistic possibility"
  2. Economic impact analysis demonstrating otherwise haven’t been presented
  3. The Premier herself admitted Alberta’s fragile economy cannot handle this shock

 

“Premier Notley claims to be interested in evidence-based policy, yet hiking Alberta’s minimum wage so high, so fast will result in significant job losses and do little to help those the government says it’s meant to,” added Ruddy. “How will these job losses from big jumps in the minimum wage be reconciled with the government’s so-called jobs plan?” added Ruddy.

Over the years, CFIB has surveyed independent business owners extensively on how large increases in minimum wages impact their business.

To speak with Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director for CFIB, please call 1-866-444-9290.

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