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Alberta's minimum wage rises to $13.60 this weekend

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2017-09-30 CBC/Radio-Canada
Alberta's minimum wage rises to $13.60 this weekend© Karin Larsen/CBC Alberta's minimum wage rises to $13.60 this weekend

Alberta's minimum wage goes up to $13.60 per hour on Sunday.

The NDP government says the move is part of its plan to ensure everyone who works full-time will earn enough to meet their basic needs.

But the opposition United Conservative Party worries it will lead to job losses by putting upward pressure on wages across the board, forcing some employers to reduce workers' hours or lay them off.

"There's lots of spin-off effects of an increase in the minimum wage that have a negative impact on other employees or business owners," interim UCP leader Nathan Cooper said Friday.

The province plans to raise the minimum wage again next year to $15 an hour.

A recent report from the C.D. Howe Institute suggested the overall increase could cost the province 25,000 jobs, but University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe highlighted what he saw as several errors in the report's methodology.

He noted the report didn't account for inflation, for example, when considering the growth in minimum wage between 2014 and 2018.

Tombe also noted declines in employment among 15- to 24-year-old Albertans over the past few years are hard to attribute to the province's minimum wage increases to date, as Saskatchewan saw similar declines.

He suggests the decline in oil prices had much more to do with the job losses in both oil-producing provinces.

"There's very little evidence so far the number of jobs has fallen due to the minimum wage," Tombe said.

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