Minimum wage in the province is going up again — jumping from $14.60 to $15.20 per hour, making it the highest wage in any province across the country.
While the pay increase was no surprise to Brun Dahlquist, the owner and manager of Pluto’s Diner, he says he might have to make some changes at his restaurant to pay his staff the new wage.
“Of course it’s going to be a little difficult but it’s what we have to do. People have to live. And the price of everything outside is going up,” he said. “A shift that might have been six or seven hours, I might drop to five hours now.”
He added that he might have to increase the price of menu items later to offset some of the cost.
The rise of minimum wage was part of the NDP platform back in 2017, moving from $11.35 an hour to $15.20 an hour.
“The gradual increase of minimum wage over four years has given businesses time to prepare for each increase, offering them stability and certainty that they’ve asked for,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour.
The government says the new wage has helped close to 400,000 people, the majority of whom are women, immigrants and youth.
Anna Gerrard, an organizer with Worker Solidarity Network, a labour advocacy group which represents retail and restaurant workers, said the group is happy about the wage increase and it was something they’ve been pushing for for a long time.
“People shouldn’t be working full-time and not being able to make ends meet,” she said, adding that the increase will improve worker’s mental health and productivity.
“Do I think that it’s enough? No, of course not,” she said. “It’s a start. It’s a welcome start, for sure.”
The province said any future increases in the minimum wage will be tied to inflation.