What Alberta’s Minimum Wage Changes Mean

The Alberta government announced the first step in its promise to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2018. On Oct. 1, 2015 minimum wage will rise by a dollar an hour to $11.20/hour, and the liquor server wage will rise by $1.50 to $10.70/hour. The liquor server wage will be eliminated in 2016.

We are all disappointed and frustrated by the government’s decision to phase out the liquor server wage and refusal to consider an entry-level wage for youth employees. However, our campaign made an impact:

  1. Alberta is taking a phased approach to eliminating the liquor server wage, rather than cutting it as of October.
  2. The government limited its minimum wage announcement to one year, rather than locking in future increases at a time of economic uncertainty.

Read the government’s full announcement and Restaurants Canada’s reaction.

Restaurants Canada’s Mark von Schellwitz also shared our position in several media interviews.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in our campaign by signing the petition (ProtectFirstJobs.ca), contacting their MLAs, sharing our infographics with your employees, and speaking with the media about this issue. When we met with the Premier and Minister Sigurdson about this issue, it was clear that this government recognizes our industry and our association as a strong voice in Alberta.

We will continue to fight for your interests and hold the government to account on this and other issues that affect your business. Let’s keep working together to make our voice even louder.

“This is going to end up hurting the very people it’s supposed to help. It’ll put those entry level jobs at risk and hurt them in terms of purchasing power…The timing of this is very bad.”
– Restaurants Canada’s Mark von Schellwitz on Alberta’s minimum wage announcement in The Globe and Mail, June 29. Read the full interview.

“Perhaps we should focus on ways to return to when minimum wage was meant for high school students and first jobs rather than relying on it to feed families…Maybe if we focused on providing these low income earners that are actually in this position with opportunities to gain skill and education they could reach for higher paying jobs and we would all be in a much better place, but hey, I’m just a cook. I’ll leave all those big ideas for the politicians and people far more skilled than I.”
– Restaurants Canada member Chef Paul Shufelt on how Alberta’s minimum wage changes will affect his business in theEdmonton Sun, July 7. Read his full column.