Rachel Notley will increase minimum wages to $15: what consequences will it have?

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Current Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley, announced it was time to increase minimum wages to ensure workers will receive $15 per hour in the year 2018.

The Government has had extensive discourse with the stakeholders and several economists, according to what Notley said last Tuesday in Calgary. The hike is sustainable and will provide a fair wage for those who need it the most, said the Premier at the same time she said she does not believe this hike will lead to job losses.

Notley made the announcement a day after the Labour Minister, Christina Gray, had announced the Cabinet had approved the required regulation, not only to increase the rate of $12.20 per hour this next October, but also to drive a further increase in October of 2017, and once again in October of 2018.

These changes can only be revoked by Notley’s Cabinet or by a successor Government.

Business groups and opposition critics have urged Notley’s Government to reconsider the hike or at least do further researches on its potential implications on the economy. These groups state that the hike will be too fast and it will halt even more those companies that have already been affected by a prolonged drop in oil prices.

Furthermore, some claim the hike could have an effect on the price raise as a direct measure when business owners try to recover the cost of wages.

From October 1st, Alberta will have the highest minimum wage among all Canadian provinces. Nunavut ($13 per hour) and the Northwest Territories ($12.50 per hour) are still higher for now, though.
These changes were promised by the NDP in the 2015 Election Campaign and it began to take steps last fall, when the Government increased the wage from $10.20 to $11.20 per hour. On October the 1st it will be once again increased a dollar, until reaching $12.20 per hour; then $13.60 next year to finally become $15 per hour on October 1st, 2018.