Policy News: Minimum Wage Increase October 1st, 2015

Effective October 1, 2015, there will be increases to the minimum wage in Alberta. Be aware of the changes and how they could affect your business. The increases are as follows:
  • The general minimum wage will increase from $10.20 to $11.20 per hour
  • The liquor server minimum wage will increase from $9.20 to $10.70 per hour
  • The weekly minimum wage for certain sales people, land agents and other professionals will increase from $406.00 to $446.00
  • The monthly minimum wage for domestic workers who live in their employer's residence will rise from $1,937.00 to $2,127.00
  • Maximum deductions for consumed meals and accommodation provided by an employer are not changing. They will remain at $3.35 per day for each consumed meal, and $4.41 per day for lodging provided
Further details on Alberta's new minimum wage rates can be found in the Minimum Wage fact sheet.

Employers with questions about minimum wages can contact the Employment Standards Contact Centre at 780-427-3731, or toll-free at 1-877-427-3731 or visit the Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour website.

Although the provincial government is determined to continue forward with their commitments to raise the minimum wage, they have indicated that they are open to feedback and data on how the minimum wage is actually impacting both employers and Albertans in general. As such, the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce encourages all those impacted by the minimum wage increase to track how it impacts them. The Chamber is planning to hold a second minimum wage discussion sometime in 2016, and we would appreciate as much information as possible about how it is affecting both businesses and Albertans. This information enables us to bring concrete recommendations to the government, and increases the likely hood that the government will respond.

For more information in regards to the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce's position on minimum wage, please see our policy document.

Benefit Highlight: Cost Effective Newspaper Ads

Beginning again in September, Chamber members get a great opportunity to advertise in the Medicine Hat News for as low as $40 for a full color ad!

The fourth Thursday of each month the Medicine Hat News provides the Chamber space for editorial content on local business issues and discounts the advertising space exclusively for proud Chamber Members!

To find out more information or to book your spot email or call Destinee at the Medicine Hat News at (403)528-5652.

New M2M Discount: Receive a free upgrade on Clean Machine carwashes

Members now get a free upgrade on all automatic car washes at Clean Machine Car Wash - buy a basic and get a Deluxe, bump up your Deluxe to a Supreme or bump your Supreme to an Ultra. 

Benefit Highlight: 10% off advertising in "Made in Southern Alberta" publication

On October 31, Southern Alberta Newspapers will debut its newest magazine, "Taking Care of Business .... Made in Southern Alberta, Southeast Alberta Edition”.

Each page will feature a successful business from across Southeast Alberta, a history of
where it began, its roadmap to success and its foundational products.

This glossy magazine - distributed to over 40,000 readers (through the Medicine Hat News, Lethbridge Herald and Southern Alberta Community Newspapers) and double that number online across southern Alberta - will highlight some of the best success stories from around the region.

Chamber members can take advantage of the exceptional reach of this publication and receive 10% off advertising with proof of valid Chamber membership.  Advertising opportunities begin at just $202.50, and the deadline to reserve space is Friday, October 23, 2015.  For more information or to book your space contact one of the Medicine Hat News Sales Representatives.

New Member: Caring Hearts and Direct Link

Caring Hearts was founded in 1997 to serve the ever-growing community of people who wish to remain independent in the place they call home, but require some degree of assistance with everyday living. Today, as one of Alberta's most reliable and trusted home care agencies, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional care and support to seniors, new expectant mothers, and working parents, individuals recuperating from recent illness or injury and those facing lifelong challenges.

Our full range of in-home care services empower clients to enjoy their best quality of living given their unique personal situation, enabling them to live healthier, happier and more rewarding lives in the privacy, safety and comfort of the place they call home.

Some of our services include:
  • Companionship
  • General Assistance
  • Personal Care
  • Transportation
  • Medical Alert Systems
It's possible you already are benefiting from some of these services; however if not, please contact us or keep us in mind for any future needs. Caring Hearts can provide services in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities, so even if you relocate, we can still serve you!

Policy news: Fragmented Systems: Connecting Players in Canada’s Skills

There is a skills gap in Canada and we must act before the situation deteriorates. The employment landscape is changing in Canada. The demand for high-skilled workers is growing while the need for low-skilled workers is declining. We need to make every effort to align education with our employment market. We all need to be on the same page if we want Canadians to have the skills to support a world-leading economy. To reinforce this message, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) recently launched a new report entitled Fragmented Systems: Connecting Players in Canada’s Skills Challenge. The CCC partnered on the release with the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. Our report identifies the barriers that stand between employers and the education systems; highlights what is currently being done to address this situation and proposes recommendations to government.

A system where employers’ skills needs are reflected in postsecondary education and training will ensure Canada has a more competitive workforce with the skills to succeed. Read more...


5 Minutes for Business: Export Revolution: Canada’s Budget Surplus as the Holy Grail

In this edition of 5 Minutes for Business, Hendrik Brakel, the Canadian Chambers Senior Director, Economic, Financial and Tax Policy, looks at the real importance of the government’s budget surplus.
Never in Canadian history has such an issue of public finance so dominated the election campaign. Even before the government announced a $1.9-billion surplus for 2014-2015, each party was using the issue as a powerful symbol of economic responsibility. How important is it really to have a budget surplus? What impact will it have on the economy? Read 5 Minutes for Business to find out more.

Policy News: Municipal Government Act to change how municipalities work together

Modernized Municipal Government Act (MGA) will be released in time for the next municipal elections in 2017.

The act is our province’s second largest piece of legislation and touches the daily lives of all Albertans by defining how their municipalities are governed, funded, and developed.
The government will introduce the updated MGA in the Legislature in spring 2016. Municipal partners, community organizations, small businesses, industry, and Albertans will all have an opportunity to review the proposed amendments and provide feedback for several months before the Legislature will complete debate of the bill during the fall sitting. All changes to the MGA, including regulations, will be proclaimed before municipal elections in fall 2017.

The updated MGA will address outstanding issues and aim to achieve the following for Alberta municipalities:

  • strengthened provincial-municipal relations
  • greater regional collaboration
  • more sustainable and inclusive development
  • further responsibility for land use and environmental conservation
  • Increased fairness and consistency for Alberta taxpayers

Read More…

Benefit Highlight: 10% off Trade Show Space

The Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the longest-running and largest home & garden tradeshows in Medicine Hat - the upcoming Great West Home & Leisure Show and spring's Sunshine Home & Garden Show. With thousands of consumers visiting the shows over the course of three days, it's the perfect opportunity for you to profile and demonstrate your business or product!

Chamber members receive 10% off booth space at either of our Trade Shows, and with the Great West Home & Leisure Show a little under a month away you still have the opportunity to book your space.

We're over 80% sold out, so don’t delay!

Member News: NewRock wins Award of Excellence

Congratulations to member NewRock Developments for winning the Award of Excellence in the Single Family $310,000 - $340,000 category at the CHBA Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing and Safety Awards.