Albertans Want the Provincial Government to Delay Raising Minimum Wage Until the Economy Improves

This Return On Insight (ROi) survey was commissioned by Restaurants Canada to explore public attitudes toward the proposed increase in the minimum wage in Alberta to $15 per hour by 2018. The  online survey of 757 Alberta adults took place between June 17 and June 21, conducted with a cross section of people recruited for ROi’s online panel based on demographics and region. Although the nature of the sampling process prohibits calculation of the exact margin of error, margin of error for a random digit dial sample of that size (757) is +/- 3.6% at a 95% confidence level (19 times out of 20). 

Now is Not the Time

According to a survey commissioned by Restaurants Canada, almost two thirds of Albertans think raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2018 is too much for businesses to handle given the state of the Alberta economy (64% agree). Concerns about the economy and the impact of a large hike in minimum wage on Alberta businesses have prompted Albertans to support delaying the implementation of a $15 minimum wage. 

The Industry Campaign Raised the Profile of the Issue

Restaurants Canada initiated an industry awareness campaign about minimum wage in June, which raised the profile of the issue significantly. Familiarity with the debate over raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2018 (86%) is even higher than awareness of one of the landmark initiatives of the NDP government—introducing a carbon tax (72%).

ROi Restaurant Survey Figure 1Too Much to Handle

Almost two thirds of Albertans (64%) think raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2018 is just too much for business to handle, and if it is done so quickly, it will delay any possible economic recovery. [See Figure 2] Concerns about the ability of businesses to handle such an increase are highest in Calgary, where 70% agree. Concern about the speed of the increase is also highest in Calgary (67%), although a majority of people in Edmonton and other parts of Alberta also agree. [See Figures 3 and 4]

Figure 2

ROi Restaurant Survey Figure 3ROi Restaurant Survey Figure 4Commenting on the results, Bruce Cameron, President of Return On Insight, said, “Albertans want the government to delay implementing their proposed minimum wage hike due to widespread concerns about the Alberta economy and the ability of businesses to absorb such a large increase during a recession.”