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Postpone Alberta minimum wage rise, website argues


Calgary – Restaurants Canada has launched a new website to reach out to industry operators, workers and supporters with the message that “Now is Not the Time” for another significant increase in the minimum wage.

Restaurants Canada is recommending the government postpone minimum wage increases until the economy improves, retain the liquor server wage (scheduled to be eliminated October 2016), and introduce a youth wage, the association said in a news release.

“Our Alberta members are already struggling to survive and maintain employment during these challenging economic times,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s vice-president for Western Canada, in the release. “A 50 per cent increase in wages over just three years would be difficult to absorb at any time. But during a recession, our members have said such an increase would lead to a reduction in jobs, hours and wages for the very people the wage hike is intended to help.”

The Alberta government began formal consultations yesterday. Restaurants Canada has provided some facts about the impact such a dramatic increase would have at www.NotTheTime.ca.

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“Our industry is concerned about the unintended consequences of increasing the rate too quickly,” von Schellwitz said. “We will get to a $15 minimum wage in time, but imposing a 50 per cent increase in just three years (a whopping 63 per cent increase for liquor servers) is simply too much, too fast.”