Edmonton – Predictably, Restaurants Canada launched a campaign today opposing Alberta’s plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2018. Unfortunately, with industry groups like Restaurants Canada it is never the time for meaningful increases to the minimum wage.
For instance in 2013 when PEI announced they would be freezing the minimum wage, Restaurants Canada put out a release calling it “A Win For Members”, while in 2014 when Manitoba increased their minimum wage by a mere 25 cents it was “Minimum Wage Increase Bad for Restaurants, Bad for Jobs”.
“Regardless of the province, and regardless of the economic situation, industry groups like Restaurants Canada never believe minimum wage earners deserve a raise”, said Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, “they remain more concerned about keeping wages low for their members, than about the thousands of minimum wage earners living in poverty.”
Reliance on Alberta’s food banks has increased 82.8% since 2008, with one third of households using food banks now being the working poor – the highest rate in the country.
“We know that minimum wage earners in Alberta are struggling to make ends meet.” said McGowan, “Too many parents are making poverty level wages, even though they are working hard every day to provide for their families.”
Their campaign continues to perpetuate the myth that the majority of minimum wage jobs are teenagers in their first job, yet in Alberta over half of all minimum wage earners are over the age of 25, almost two thirds of them are women and nearly three quarters of minimum wage earners are in permanent jobs – not temporary, summer or internship placements.
“This discussion about the minimum wage isn’t about young people getting job experience,” said McGowan, “it’s about ensuring that those who work full time in Alberta are actually able to feed their families and still afford to pay the bills every month.”
Chris Gallaway, Director Government Relations, Alberta Federation of Labour at
587.984.7569 (cell) or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org