EDMONTON, June 18, 2015 – More than 800 business owners, managers, employees and customers have already signed an online petition calling on the government to modify its minimum wage plan.

Restaurants Canada created the website ProtectFirstJobs.ca to explain the impact of raising the minimum wage too high, too fast – particularly on first-time, entry-level jobs for young people and those who earn a large part of their income from gratuities.

“We are not opposed to minimum wage increases. Our concern is with the unintended consequences of raising it by 50% so quickly, and at a time when the economy is slowing dramatically,” says the association’s Vice President, Western Canada Mark von Schellwitz.

Restaurants Canada is urging government to work with employers to create wage and job growth for Albertans, starting with these measures:

    1. Adjust minimum wage based on the current economic climate, and announce increases annually to allow for necessary adjustments.
    2. Keep the current liquor-server differential, which recognizes that servers in licensed restaurants and bars are not minimum wage earners when you factor in their substantial gratuity income. This allows restaurateurs to pay more to staff who don’t earn tips.
    3. Introduce a first-job wage differential to encourage small businesses to continue to hire entry-level job-seekers and students under the age of 18.

Infographics:
Alberta’s Restaurant Industry: Part of every community
Restaurant Business 101: Where the money goes

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs 1.2 million Canadians, is the number one source of first jobs, and serves 18 million customers every day.

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