Charlottetown, PE (Sept. 20, 2022) – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the Government of PEI’s decision to raise the minimum wage twice in one year, for a total jump of $1.30, an overall minimum wage increase of 9.49% over the course of 18 months.
While the Chamber supports moderate increases to minimum wage, this is the largest jump in one year the province has done since at least 2017. The jump also exceeds the most recent year-over-year inflation rate for PEI, which was 8.3% in August according to Statistics Canada.
The first increase will be by $0.80 on January 1, 2023, to $14.50 per hour. The second increase will be $0.50 on October 1, 2023, to $15 per hour.
“We support the provincial government’s desire in ensuring Island employees are properly compensated for their hard work,” said Chamber CEO Robert Godfrey. “However, the size and timing of this increase is unfortunate and will have a large impact on employers that are still struggling with inflation, supply chain delays, and the labour shortage.”
In June, the Chamber conducted a poll on its members regarding minimum wage increases, specifically if the province was to raise minimum wage to $15. Of the respondents, 55% said this would ‘somewhat’ or ‘severely’ impact their business.
Over half of poll respondents said they would increase price due to such an increase, since respondents said they would have to increase other wages to maintain internal equity. About 17% of respondents said they would decrease staffing to deal with the increased cost of wages, while 14% said they would need to reduce hours of operation.
“We encourage the provincial government to explore options when it comes to the real issues of affordability in this province and not download that responsibility to the Island business community with this large increase,” said Godfrey.
In its 2022 Minimum Wage Review submission, the Chamber called for the provincial government to define its desired outcome for minimum wage, review current methodology, and develop a long-term strategy for minimum wage within the next six months as a way to create a transparent, fair, and predictable process.
The submission also called for the provincial government to take additional measures when it comes to creating a livable income for low-income workers outside of depending on businesses, such as continuing to raise the Basic Personal Amount to better align with the national average, and re-evaluating our income tax bracket model to better align with the Atlantic provinces and leave more money in the pockets of Islanders.
For more information on the recently announced minimum wage increase, click here.
About The Chamber:
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce connects business and community and is PEI’s largest business advocacy organization with more than 1,100 members. For more information on the Chamber visit www.charlottetownchamber.com.
Policy and Communications Specialist
(902) 628-2000 x 224