Increasing the Minimum Wage to $15 a Job Killer for Alberta’s Youth: New Analysis

Calgary, September 28, 2017 – The Alberta government’s plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018 would disproportionately hurt young workers, potentially resulting in between 16,000 and 37,000 youth job losses, according to a new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“While hiking the minimum wage may sound like a good idea, mounting evidence shows that it’s a job killer,” said Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director for CFIB.  “A $15 minimum wage will particularly affect employment opportunities for Alberta’s youth, a segment of the population who already face significantly higher unemployment.”

Currently, over 60 per cent of minimum wage workers in Canada are young people between the ages of 15 and 24.  Past research has shown that, as minimum wage rises, young workers are the most impacted.  Employers will often choose to hire fewer younger workers or rely more heavily on more experienced workers, as wage costs increase.

Using 2016 Labour Force Survey data, CFIB’s report examines the effects of a $15 minimum wage in each province.  Nationally — if all provinces jumped to a $15 minimum wage — between 184,800 and to 422,400 youth jobs would be put at risk.  These estimates include the number of direct job losses and as well as the drop in the number of jobs being created.

“The Premier seems confident that minimum wage hikes spur economic growth so she should have no problem releasing the full economic impact assessment of this policy,” Ruddy added.  “While the vast majority of Alberta’s employers hire at wage rates above minimum wage, several important sectors of the economy, including retail and hospitality often don’t have the margins to allow for such large wage increases over a short period of time.”

For the complete analysis including methodology, download the report.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.