CHARLOTTETOWN – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce is expressing concern over the sudden announcement to raise the provincial minimum wage rate on April 1st, 2017. This announcement comes on the heels of two provincial minimum wage increases in 2016.
“Our members continue to express concern about the pace of minimum wage increases in this province,” said Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Penny Walsh McGuire. “It’s very difficult for business owners to adapt to a wage increase when only given one month’s notice – especially after two minimum wage increases were introduced in 2016.”
The Chamber stresses the need for a long-term minimum wage strategy that would include a review process for determining minimum wage that includes consultations with stakeholders; a study of alternative models and best practices in other jurisdictions; a commitment to tie minimum wage increases to the consumer price index; and fixed dates for when wage increases would take effect.
“When employers are not able to sufficiently plan for these wage changes, the financial impact is felt by workers in the forms of reduced staff hours or delayed hiring plans,” said Walsh McGuire. “Overall, employers want a process that ensures PEI’s competitiveness. Decisions around minimum wage should not discourage investment, economic growth, or job creation.”
The Chamber reiterates its strong recommendation to increase PEI’s basic personal tax exemption as a way to support employees and allow for more dollars to circulate throughout the Island economy. PEI currently has the lowest basic personal exemption in Canada at $8,000 and is one of only three provinces that do not automatically increase the basic personal tax exemption at the rate of inflation.
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce serves as the “Voice of Business” on economic issues for close to 1000 members, representing more than 18,000 employees in small, medium and large enterprises in the capital region.