Minimum wage hike not as bad as predicted

Richard Froese
South Peace News
Views on the impact of the minimum wage increase in Alberta were presented during the High Prairie Business Support Network meeting April 27.

“The lesson is to distrust sweeping generalizations about what might happen from a minimum wage increase within the provincial labour market as a whole,” says Tom Bidart.

Bidart, a small business entrepreneur, also serves as co-ordinator and instructor of business administration and office administration at Northern Lakes College.

The minimum wage topic was suggested by many business people, concerned about the impact of the hourly wage that increased to $12.20 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016. A further hike to $13.60 occurs on Oct. 1, 2017, and $15 in 2018,

“Recent minimum wage increases have not resulted in massive job losses predicted by opponents,” Bidart says.
“The evidence and data are not there.”

A study in New Jersey about the increase showed a similar conclusion.

The only impact was a three per cent increase in prices, while no employees were laid off, he says.

Research generally supports the idea that raising the minimum wage would have varying impacts across geographic regions and industries, even if on the whole it doesn’t produce negative effects.

Bidart also presented several key points to know about the increase in minimum wage in Alberta, according to Parkland Institute.
– The minimum wage won’t ruin Alberta.
– Consumer spending power has more impact on employment than raising the minimum wage.
– Raising the minimum wage by meaningful amounts helps put a dent in increasing income equality.

Even $15 is not a living wage in Grande Prairie, and the High Prairie area, Bidart adds.

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