Western Convenience Stores Association

Western Convenience Stores Association

June 29, 2015 17:15 ET

Alberta Retailers Concerned About Minimum Wage Increase

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - June 29, 2015) - Alberta's convenience store retailers are deeply concerned about the potential impact of the proposed $15.00 minimum wage increase.

"We recognize Alberta has the lowest minimum wage in Canada and certainly appreciate the incremental approach, however this represents an overall 47% increase which can cripple small business," says Andrew Klukas, President of the WCSA.

This overall change in a relatively short period of time is far higher than any anticipated increases in sales or profits in the foreseeable future and will create significant challenges.

With average profit margins at less than 3% annually, a key concern within the convenience industry is it will force many small businesses out of business and larger chains to close sites. Rapid cost increases can cause unintended consequences, affecting the price of goods and potential reductions in employment positions and hours.

"People need to understand that a minimum wage increase not only impacts minimum wage earners but has a ripple effect on the overall wage economy" says Klukas.

In several provinces, groups representing low-income Canadians, such as food banks, have suggested that minimum wage increases don't necessarily protect low-income earners as often times their hours are cut back.

As a large proportion of those working at the minimum wage are young, it could result in a higher unemployment for the youngest workers and lack of work experience as they graduate.

The full social and economic impact and effect that increases on the minimum wage have on workers and the Alberta economy are unknown therefore the WCSA recommends the Government undertake a robust economic analysis of the measure prior to its implementation.

About the WCSA

The WCSA is a not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 7,000 convenience store retailers operating throughout Western Canada. These retailers employ more than 50,000 people and contribute over $18 billion in sales to local economies. Its mission is to foster the success of the convenience store industry in Western Canada by representing the best interests of its members, and the communities they serve.

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