EDMONTON — The Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has condemned the provincial government’s recently unveiled minimum wage increases, it was announced June 30.
Oct. 1, 2016, the general minimum wage will rise $1.00 to $12.20 per hour. The current liquor server rate will be eliminated. Oct. 1, 2017: Minimum wage will rise $1.40 to $13.60 per hour. Oct. 1, 2018: Minimum wage will rise $1.40 to $15 per hour.
“I am deeply disappointed in the government's decision to move ahead with these increases. This decision is at odds with the recommendations that came out of the government's own stakeholder consultations, which I attended. The impacts of these increases will be severe, especially considering the challenges we face in the current economy,” said Dave Kaiser, president and CEO of AHLA, in a release.
Along with organizations such as the Alberta Chambers of Commerce and Restaurants Canada, the AHLA made a number of recommendations to government, including: considering existing economic conditions prior to making changes to minimum wage; creating a different wage for young or inexperienced workers; identifying more targeted and effective ways to address poverty.
“The government's decision does not support the competitiveness and growth of Alberta's tourism and hospitality industry. At a time when hotels are having to lay off staff because occupancies are in the range of 20 per cent to 50 per cent, these hikes to minimum wage are going to mean reduced hours of operation, fewer hours for staff and less staff employed,” said Perry Batke, AHLA board chair.