HALIFAX — Halifax restaurant owners are preparing for a 12.2 per cent increase to the minimum wage this year.
The proposed hike — which is 10 times higher than the consumer price index — translates to a $31-million hit to foodservice operators or $16,000 a year on average.
“I have been overwhelmed by the response from our members on this issue,” says Luc Erjavec, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) Atlantic Canada vice-president. “Many are asking me why government doesn’t seem to care about small business operators who are struggling with a very tough economy.”
The CRFA is proposing that the government, reduce the income tax burden on low-income earners, keep wage hikes in line with other economic indicators, give employees serving alcohol a separate minimum wage and leave the inexperience wage at the current rate.
“A 12 per cent increase in minimum wage, when inflation is running at just 1.2 per cent, will ratchet up all wages in our industry. It’s counterproductive at a time when we are struggling to preserve jobs,” says Erjavec. “There are ways to protect small businesses and the jobs they provide while achieving the goal of reducing poverty.”