Drastic minimum wage increases will slow recovery for New Brunswick’s hard-hit foodservice sector

Published December 2, 2021

Restaurants Canada estimates that increasing the minimum wage by $2 over the course of 2022 will add at least $25,000 to the cost of operating a restaurant in New Brunswick.

FREDERICTON — Restaurants Canada is deeply concerned by the Government of New Brunswick’s unexpected decision to raise the minimum wage by $2 over the course of 2022, without any industry consultation.

“This is an unreasonably drastic increase that couldn’t be coming at a worse time for New Brunswick’s restaurants,” said Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada. “Most foodservice operations have been losing money or barely scraping by every day since the COVID-19 pandemic started. These are mostly small and medium-sized businesses that need all levels of government to take more of a do-no-harm approach while they recover from massive amounts of debt.”

Restaurants Canada estimates that increasing the minimum wage by $2 over the course of 2022 will add at least $25,000 to the cost of operating a restaurant in New Brunswick.

The Government of New Brunswick announced this morning that the province’s minimum wage will increase from $11.75 to $12.75 on April 1, 2022 and then again to $13.75 on Oct. 1, 2022. This means the first increase would come into effect just before restaurants lose access to federal wage support on May 7, 2022.

“Restaurants are key to feeding New Brunswick’s recovery, but first they need to survive,” said Erjavec. “Our hard-hit industry deserves to be brought to the table to discuss ways to offset rising costs that could lengthen the road to recovery.”

About Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is a national, not-for-profit association advancing the potential of Canada’s diverse and dynamic foodservice industry through member programs, research, advocacy, resources and events. Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Brunswick’s $1.5 billion restaurant industry was the province’s fourth-largest source of private sector jobs, typically employing 22,000 people.

Marlee Wasser

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