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MLA Starke says increase of minimum wage in Alberta to affect small businesses

Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Dr. Richard Starke says it is hard to determine the impact of the minimum wage differential between Alberta and Saskatchewan in Lloydminster. However, in Alberta, he says the increase in pay will affect small business owners.

As of today, the minimum wage in both provinces has increased. In Saskatchewan, workers are getting paid $11.06 per hour, an increase from $10.96 per hour. In Alberta, the $1.40 per hour increase sees employees earning $15 per hour.

“We’ve had differentials on a number of different things in the past that in some cases we’ve worked with both provinces to smooth those out,” says Starke. He adds that both provinces will have their ups and downs with the change.

“As far as the labour market goes it may well happen that Alberta businesses will become more attractive to people seeking work, but Saskatchewan business that is paying slightly less than $15 an hour may be able to hire more people because they’re paying a lower salary and have more dollars available.”

In Alberta, Starke says the increase in the province will create difficulties for small businesses.

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“That difficulty has also been reflected onto a lot to people who are working at minimum wage because in some cases they’ve had their hours cut back. In other cases, positions have been eliminated because business has to remain profitable in order to stay in business.”

He says that he would have waited for the economy to be fully picked back up before increasing wages, which would mean waiting another two or three years.

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