Minimum Wage

The Issue
In the Alberta NDP Platform section 1.3 it stated that the NDP Government “would ensure the benefits of better economic policies are more widely shared, by increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018”. However there are inconclusive studies regarding minimum wage in relation to the overall, long term economic benefit and the impacts to resolving the root of implementing minimum wage increases, poverty reduction and addressing the living wage issue, and the adverse effects on unemployment and impacts on business.

Advocacy
The local Chamber of Commerce adopted a Policy on minimum wage in May 2015, followed by the adoption of the same policy through the Alberta Chambers of Commerce Policy Conference on May 23, 2015. After seeing no response to holding minimum wage equal to the percent change in the Alberta Consumer Price Index and a lack of data/information gathering and analysis by Government to address policy relevant minimum wage issues, the local Chamber co-sponsored a 2017 Lethbridge Chamber policy on Measuring the Effects of Increased Minimum Wages in Alberta.

Click HERE to view the Chamber’s Advocacy Page on its website, and the Minimum Wage policy under our Provincial Policy category.

Timeline
On May 29, 2015 the Government of Alberta announced that it would be holding consultations on Minimum Wage increases during the month of June. The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce quickly responded in a letter issued on May 29th, resulting in inclusion in a consultation on June 11th in Edmonton.

Following the consultation the local Chamber issued an additional response on June 15th requesting a more strategic approach and balanced solution.

On June 29, 2015 Minister Lori Sigurdson announced the Government's first steps towards raising the minimum wage.

On July 16, Minister Lori Sigurdson issued a response to our Chamber.

The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce hosted a minimum wage roundtable on September 23, 2015.

On October 1, 2015, Alberta’s general minimum wage increased to $11.20 from $10.20 for most employees; an hourly minimum wage of $10.70 (from $9.20) for employees serving liquor as part of their regular jobs with the liquor server rate eliminated in 2016; a weekly minimum wage of $446 for many salespersons, including land agents and certain professionals; and a monthly minimum wage of $2,127 for domestic employees.

The Minister indicated that the Government would continue to phase in increases, with the minimum wage reaching $15 per hour by 2018 with minimum wage increasing to $12.20 on October 1, 2016; $13.60 on October 1, 2017 and finally $15.00 by October 1, 2018. View the minimum wage fact sheet on the Government of Alberta Employment Standards website.

On November 12, 2015, we issued an additional letter to Minister Lori Sigurdson, which also included the data from our September Minimum Wage Roundtable.

With the appointment of Christina Gray as Minister of Labour, our Chamber of Commerce issued a letter on February 12th, as well as taking the opportunity to meet Minister Gray at the recent Alberta Business Awards of Distinction on February 26, 2016.

Our Chamber held an additional roundtable on Minimum wage on April 8, 2016 to gather more data since the October 1, 2015 increase.

On June 6, 2016 our Chamber attended a minimum wage consultation in Calgary and a follow up letter was issued on June 10, 2016 to Minister Gray.

Additionally, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce has delivered its Minimum Wage Submission to Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray. The submission contains results from the Phase II: Minimum Wage Increase Survey, which can be viewed Here, as well as the letter to Minister Gray Here.  

The Alberta Chambers of Commerce met with Minister Gray in March 2016 and our local Chamber has sent a request to meet and consult with Minister Gray as well. 

On September 29, 2016 Minister Christina Gray came to Medicine Hat to meet with our members and hear concerns, as well as address any questions related to her Ministry. The Minister was resolute in the Government's position to continue to $15 by 2018 regardless of impacts and unintended consequences.

The Alberta Chambers of Commerce further issued a letter, along with survey responses, to Minister Gray on February 22, 2017.

Unfortunately there has been no movement on minimum wage, but rather a compounding effect with further impacts to business through employment standards, labour standards, WCB and OHS reviews that further impact business, labour and compliance costs with very little consultation or concern for those impacted.

Click here to view a map of minimum hourly wage rates as of October 1, 2017 (Retail Council of Canada)
Click here to view further details on the Minimum Wage Increase.
Click here to view the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce Phase I Survey Responses.
Click here  to view the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce Phase II Survey Responses.
Click here to view the Alberta Chambers of Commerce Phase I Survey Responses.
Click here to view the Alberta Chambers of Commerce Phase II Survey Responses.

Additionally, there have been a number of commentaries on this topic through the Alberta Chambers with one of the recordings available here:
June 22: ACC President Ken Kobly on Dinner Television