Restaurants Canada applauds introduction of new Alberta labour legislation

Published May 27, 2019

The new UCP government of Alberta today unveiled Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business.

Restaurants Canada welcomes the introduction of this new legislation, which acts on many of the recommendations made during the provincial election to help improve realities for restaurants across Alberta.

The announcement was made at 1st Round, an Edmonton sports bar, where Premier Jason Kenney and Labour Minister Jason Copping were introduced by Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada.

Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada, introducing Premier Jason Kenney and Labour Minister Jason Copping at Edmonton sports bar, 1st Round, to unveil Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business.

“Alberta’s minimum wage increases and new holiday pay requirements added operational costs that were too much, too fast, and came at exactly the wrong time for our industry,” said von Schellwitz. “These labour policy changes, including a new minimum wage for young workers who require training, will provide much needed relief for restaurateurs so that they can continue contributing to vibrant communities and providing first-time job opportunities for youth.”

What will the new legislation mean for foodservice businesses in Alberta?

Once this legislation is passed:

  • Employers will be permitted to pay a wage of $13 per hour to students between 13 and 17 years of age. As of June 26, this lower wage will apply for the first 28 hours worked by a student while school is in session. For every hour over that, they must be paid the full $15 minimum hourly wage. During school breaks and summer holidays, the youth rate will apply to all hours worked.
  • Only employees who regularly work on a general holiday will be entitled to receive holiday pay, and they must work 30 days in the last 12 months to qualify for it. This change would come into effect on Sept. 1.
  • Workers will have the option to develop straight-time banked overtime hour arrangements with their employer. The proposed legislation would also repeal flexible averaging agreements to accommodate changes to how banked overtime is compensated. Currently, employees can choose to be paid for overtime at time-and-a-half, or receive 1.5 banked time off. Instead, Bill 2 would allow employers and workers to make straight-time banked hour arrangements, where employees could still choose to bank overtime hours, but at a 1:1 ratio. The intention behind this is to give employees more flexibility to be able to take time off for personal commitments without losing employment hours. These changes would come into effect on Sept. 1.
  • A mandatory secret ballot will be restored for all union certification votes, as well as a 90-day period for unions to provide evidence of employee support for certification. These changes would come into effect as soon as the bill receives Royal Assent.

Next steps for Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada looks forward to continuing to work with the UCP and all members of Alberta’s new government toward fulfilling even more commitments made during the provincial election that can help foodservice businesses regain a solid footing and positive outlook following recent setbacks.

If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada, at mark@restaurantscanada.org or 1-800-387-5649 ext. 6500.

Marlee Wasser

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