In one fell swoop, the Alberta government has managed to ensure the perpetuity of both future minimum wage increases and the controversy over the minimum wage itself.
After freezing the wage last year, Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk was under mounting pressure to increase it this year.
Last year, the government argued that given the impact of the recession, an increase in the minimum wage would threaten jobs and the viability of small businesses. However, the minister suggested he'd consider an increase once the economy had recovered.
Well, advocates of a wage increase got their wish, but they are not exactly celebrating. The minimum wage is indeed going up, but in the process, two tiers of minimum wage are being created.
Alberta's minimum wage will go from $8.80 an hour to $9.40, effective Sept. 1. However, it will rise to just $9.05 for those who work as servers in licensed establishments. Eventually, there will be a permanent one-dollar discrepancy between the two tiers.
It makes the landscape more muddled, but also helps to reveal some plain truths about the minimum wage.
The province quite rightly points out that servers, for whom a large portion of their income is derived from tips, are not exactly minimum wage earners. Such workers represent a significant proportion of those earning minimum wage in Alberta. How exactly does raising their wage in any way address poverty?
Employers who do pay minimum wage might have some tough decisions to make. If they intend to absorb the cost, that could mean fewer positions, fewer hours of work and scaled-back benefits or training. Higher prices would be the other choice — bad news for low-income earners.
Here in Alberta, however, most low-skill jobs already pay above the minimum. That's what really matters — not what the minimum wage is, but how relevant it is.
It's true, for example, that Alberta will soon have Canada's lowest minimum wage. What's far more telling, though, is that only 1.4 per cent of workers in Alberta actually earn minimum wage.
When you factor in those earning tips, as well as students living at home, workers who take a second job for extra income, and those for whom their spouses are the primary household income earners, there are not many people left who represent the sort of minimum wage earner portrayed by labour groups.
A 2009 paper in the journal Canadian Public Policy pointed out that more than 80 per cent of low-wage earners are not members of poor households and that more than 75 per cent of poor households do not have a member who is a low-wage earner. The paper concluded, then, that planned increases in Ontario's minimum wage would "lead to virtually no reduction in . . . poverty."
However, groups such as the Alberta Federation of Labour want the government to go much further. The group is pushing for a so-called living wage of $12.20 per hour.
While such an hourly wage might look more attractive when viewed in isolation, the effects of such a policy would far outweigh any benefit.
In 2002, the Quebec government conducted an extensive review of the minimum wage. The report drew heavily on the work of economist Pierre Fortin, who concludes that a minimum wage falling between 45 and 50 per cent of the average income represents an increasing danger to employment.
Alberta's average hourly wage is $25.02, so the living wage puts us right in the danger category. In other words, the sort of policy that harms those it is intended to help.
For those who believe government's role is to directly assist those in poverty, there are a plethora of other ways by which to assist such individuals.
For others — a 17-year-old living at home, for example — there is great benefit in simply having a job. Not just in terms of having an income, but in the valuable work experience earned. Higher minimum wages mean fewer such jobs, and therefore, fewer such opportunities.
Given the far worse options being proposed by others, the Alberta government's muddled approach may be the least detrimental.
The Rob Breakenridge Show airs weeknights from 9-11 p.m. on AM770 CHQR. firstname.lastname@example.org
Calgary Herald, Mon Jun 6 2011
Byline: Rob Breakenridge
EDMONTON - Alberta is raising its minimum wage, but too late for students working summer jobs who will be returning to school this fall.
The general minimum wage will rise 60 cents to $9.40 per hour on Sept. 1. But workers who serve alcohol will only get a 25 cent per hour raise.
Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said the government wanted to ensure the raises are reasonable to employers and employees.
"We want to maintain the important balance between attracting people into entry-level positions and helping their employers remain competitive," he said Wednesday.
"Having a different minimum wage for liquor servers recognizes that these individuals earn a significant part of their incomes from tips."
The changes are expected to affect about 20,000 workers in Alberta.
The Alberta Federation of Labour has been calling on the government to raise the minimum to $12.20 to ensure people are earning a living wage.
"We believe that anyone who works full time, full year in our province should earn a wage that allows them to stay out of poverty," said Gil McGowan, president of the federation.
Alberta's new minimum wage rate is in the middle of the pack compared with other provinces and territories. Right now Alberta has the second lowest rate after British Columbia.
Global Regina, Thurs Jun 2 2011
Minimum-wage raise welcomed, but program seriously flawed, says AFL: Further delay in implementing raises is ‘mean spirited,’ says Gil McGowan
Today's announcement that minimum-wage levels in the province are going up has been welcomed by the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), but the labour organization has serious concerns over details of the new policy.
"This raise has to be seen in context," says McGowan, president of the AFL, which represents 145,000 workers. "This is not a great leap forward. If the government had stuck with its old policy of annual raises, workers would already be getting more than the $9.40 per hour it is setting as the new general rate. Those getting the new second-tier of $9.05 per hour are falling further behind."
He described the introduction of a two-tier system, with liquor servers earning less than other workers, as "unfair and almost impossible to administer."
"The minister says liquor servers get tips, so don't deserve the same wage as other workers," says McGowan. "But what about workers who serve liquor but don't get tips? What about workers who get tips but don't serve liquor, like servers in unlicensed restaurants, or estheticians?"
McGowan also criticized the decision to delay applying the new rates until September 1st, meaning students working summer jobs won't benefit. "We have waited more than two years for a raise. Imposing another three-month delay is simply mean-spirited."
The AFL welcomed the plan to have a system for annual increases to minimum-wage levels, but is worried that the decision to implement these annual raises will be left to the cabinet instead of being applied automatically.
"How can we trust that raises will be implemented fairly when this minister froze the minimum wage for two years in defiance of the government's stated policy?"
The AFL has called for the minimum wage to be given a one-time boost to $12.20 and then increased annually. "We believe that anyone who works full time, full year in our province should earn a wage that allows them to stay out of poverty. Neither of the two new rates is enough to do that," says McGowan. "This higher rate moves Alberta from the second lowest minimum wage in Canada to sixth place – hardly enough to warrant celebration. The lower rate is even closer to the bottom."
McGowan dismissed fears that a larger increase in minimum wage levels would lead to lost jobs. "A five-year analysis by the AFL last year showed that raises in the minimum wage led to more jobs being created in service industries, not less," says McGowan.
Contact: Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour @ 780-218-9888 (cell)
The Alberta Federation of Labour thinks the province's minimum wage is too low, and it wants Alberta Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk to do something about that before he steps down to seek the Conservative party leadership.
"Lukaszuk's first act when he became minister a year and a half ago was to freeze Alberta's minimum wage," AFL president Gil McGowan said in a news release last week. "At the time, he said he would review the practice of automatically indexing the minimum wage and only consider an increase when the provincial economy returned to health. Well, the review is done and the recession is over. It's time for the minister to live up to the promise he made to Alberta's poorest workers."
Alberta's minimum wage sits at $8.80 per hour, lower than all other Canadian provinces and territories with the exception of British Columbia's $8.75. But with B.C. planning to increase its rate to $9.50 in November, then to $10.25 per hour in May 2012, that will leave Alberta trailing the field unless the minimum wage is raised in this province.
In other provinces, the minimum wage ranges from $9 in Prince Edward Island and the Yukon to $11 in Nunavut and $10.25 in Ontario. Elsewhere on the Prairies, the minimum wage is $9.25 in Saskatchewan and $9.50 in Manitoba.
At $8.80 per hour, full-time hourly minimum-wage workers in Alberta earn $352 a week and approximately $18,304 per year, based on eight-hour days and a 260-day work year, according to the Canadian Minimum Wage website. That would put a single person earning minimum wage in Lethbridge barely above the "low-income cut-off" line of $18,147 per year, as calculated by the Canadian Council on Social Development (2006 figures).
McGowan says with an improved economy and with thousands of high school students set to join the job market for the summer, now is a good time to bump up Alberta's minimum wage.
But there are two sides to that coin. Critics of a higher minimum wage say it leads to job losses. When B.C. announced its plans to hike its minimum wage, a report from the Fraser Institute predicted the increase will result in between 9,000 and 52,000 job cuts.
A report released this year by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business titled "Minimum Wage: Reframing the Debate" noted, "Although governments have implemented minimum wage policies in hopes of reducing poverty and improving the well-being of low-income workers, the overall effectiveness of these policies is debatable."
The report went on to estimate that a 10 per cent increase in the minimum wage across all provinces "costs between 92,300 and 321,300 jobs."
That means while an increase in the minimum wage means more money in the pockets of those at the low end of the wage scale, it also means a number of workers wind up with their income reduced to zero.
Clearly, the issue creates a dilemma. On the surface, it seems a no-brainer that workers deserve a better minimum wage. But it's also true that many small businesses aren't in a position to boost their payroll budget. If payroll goes up, so do other associated costs such as payroll taxes including Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and Workers' Compensation contributions, the CFIB notes in its report.
Consequently, if the minimum wage goes up, something has to give - and that often means people losing their jobs.
So the question boils down to: Is it worth it to raise the minimum wage and improve the lot of some workers while making things worse for others?
There's no easy answer.
Lethbridge Herald Opinion, Thurs May 26 2011
Minmum wage should be raised now, before thousands of high school students get summer jobs, says McGowan
EDMONTON – Before he steps down to pursue the leadership of the PC Party, Employment and Immigration Minister Lukaszuk should make good on the promise he made to raise the minimum wage, says the Alberta Federation of Labour.
“Lukaszuk’s first act when he became minister a year and a half ago was to freeze Alberta’s minimum wage,” say AFL president Gil McGowan. “At the time, he said he would review the practice of automatically indexing the minimum wage and only consider an increase when the provincial economy returned to health. Well, the review is done and the recession is over. It’s time for the Minister to live up to the promise he made to Alberta’s poorest workers.”
At $8.80 per hour Alberta, Canada’s wealthiest province, has the second lowest minimum wage in the country – after B.C. But B.C. premier Christy Clark recently announced that the minimum wage in B.C. will be increased to $10.25 per hour in May 2012.
McGowan says the time is right for Lukaszuk to increase Alberta’s minimum wage because the K-12 school year is almost over.
“Thousands of high school students will soon be applying for jobs and many of those jobs will pay minimum wage or close to it. Before Lukaszuk himself considers applying for a new job, that of premier, he should raise the minimum wage and help out those students,” says McGowan.
McGowan says both of Lukaszuk’s conditions for increasing the minimum wage have been met.
First, the Alberta economy has clearly returned to good health. Investment is up and unemployment is down. Retail sales are up nearly 6 per cent from last year. And the province’s average weekly earnings rose by nearly 7 per cent and are the highest in the country.
“Clearly, we can afford to give Albertans earning minimum wage a raise,” says McGowan.
Lukaszuk’s second condition was that a review be conducted of Alberta’s system for indexing and increasing the minimum wage. This was done last summer and fall by a special all-party committee of the Legislature. In December, the committee recommended that the minimum wage immediately be increased to $9.05 and that a system for regular cost-of-living increases be implemented.
“Despite the committee’s recommendations, the silence from the Minister on this issue has been deafening,” says McGowan.
Other jobs that will be left undone if Lukaszuk resigns include: making change to improve workplace health and safety; extending basic rights to agricultural workers; and fixing the Temporary Foreign Worker program (which Lukaszuk has admitted himself is dysfunctional).
“If Lukaszuk wants to be taken seriously as a leadership candidate, you’d think he’d want to finish at least some of this work before giving up the reins at the Employment and Immigration department,” says McGowan. “Increasing the minimum wage would be a good place to start and an important legacy to leave.”
The AFL is Alberta’s largest labour organization, representing 145,000 unionized Alberta workers.
Media Contact: Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour @ 780-218-9888
You know you're getting older when you can recall the minimum wage for Ontario in 1976 was $2.15. But the cost of living back when Disco was the music of choice at a bar on a Saturday night was considerably lower than what Albertans are paid today.
And to think this province's workers continue to endure unnecessary hardship and poverty thanks to a two-year delay in increasing the minimum wage by the Alberta government.
Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan notes this province's minimum wage has been stuck at $8.80 per hour since April 2009. Meanwhile, your grocery costs and the cost to fill a gas tank have gone up considerly more than wages.
What's unacceptable, says McGowan, is the government more than a year ago needlessly cancelling a scheduled increase to the minimum-wage level.
Last fall, the Alberta legislature standing committee on the economy recommended an immediate increase to $9.05 per hour. The Minister of Employment and Immigration has ignored that recommendation.
"This is inexcusable," says McGowan.
Yes it is, but will the province adopt the $9.05 minimum-wage level and restore annual increases to the minimum wage, based on the average weekly earnings index?
McGowan would like to see the government make a one-time bump to the minimum wage to $12.20 as the province's economy stabilizes, so low-income earners can make a living wage. Makes sense to have full-time workers in this province being able to earn a wage that allows them to stay out of poverty. The current minimum wage does not do that.
There must also be a system in place that guarantees regular increases to prevent the minimum level from being eroded by inflation. The current minimum wage leaves a full-time worker at an income of $4,000 per year below the low-income cutoff, otherwise known as the poverty line.
Alberta can afford to do better when you compare the minimum wages from the rest of Canada, with BC the lowest at $8 — in Australia it's $20 — Newfoundland $10, Nunavut $11, Quebec $9.50, Ontario $10.25, Saskatchewan $9.25 or Nova Scotia $9.65.
Hanna Herald, Mar 25 2011
2010 Jun Speaking Notes - Presentation to Alberta Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on the Economy - Minimum Wage
As most of you know, the AFL is Alberta's largest labour organization, representing 29 unions in the public and private sectors with a collective membership of about 140,000 Albertans.
On behalf of that membership I'd like to thank you for this opportunity to present to this committee on the important question of how to set Alberta's minimum wage.
I've often been described in the media as one of the government's most vocal and persistent critics.
I'm the first to admit there's a lot of truth in that label.
On behalf of my members, I've raised concerns about this government's approach to workplace health and safety; its approach to labour law; its approach to temporary foreign workers; and its approach to development in the oil sands... among many other things.
So you can imagine my surprise when, two years ago, I found myself in agreement with a major decision made by the Premier and his then Minister of Employment, Hector Goudreau.
And I didn't just agree...I actually wanted to shout my enthusiastic support from the roof tops.
The decision I'm referring to, of course, was the decision to increase the minimum wage - and even more importantly - to explicitly tie future increases to changes in the average weekly wage index.
At the time, the premier and the minister basically said that whenever other Albertans got a raise, the lowest paid Albertans should get a raise too.
It was the same logic - and the same mechanism - that the government used to determine pay increases for MLAs.
I had a few quibbles. I thought the starting base wage should be set a little higher. And I thought the Alberta Consumer Price Index might have provided a more appropriate benchmark.
But, on balance, I felt the government had done the right thing for the right reasons. It was a simple system; a transparent system; a predictable system; and a fair system. It was, I would argue, an example of public policy at its thoughtful best.
I'm a strong believer in giving credit where credit is due, so I wasn't shy about praising the government. I did it in writing; I did it press releases and I said it to anyone who would listen.
Whole-heartedly supporting the Alberta government on a major policy issue was uncharted territory for me - but honestly, it felt good.
Unfortunately, today find myself in more familiar territory.
We're here because the new Minister of Employment, Thomas Lukazuk, has called for a review of Alberta's Minimum Wage policy and has suspended the small increase that was supposed to be given to minimum wage workers this spring.
To say that I'm disappointed by this turn of events would be an understatement.
When the Minister made his announcement about the freeze and the review, he said he was doing so because many employers had told him that an increases in the minimum wage, however small, would lead to significant job loss.
That's really why we're here today - because business owners - especially business owner in the service sector - played the jobs card ... and they did it during a recession.
To be fair, anyone sitting in the Employment Minister's chair, has to take concerns about job loss seriously - especially at a time when the number of unemployed is increasing.
But if you're a business or a business lobby group that is asking the government to take money out of the pockets of our poorest citizens, then the onus is on you to back up your arguments with facts, not fear.
Anecdotes aren't evidence and rhetoric is not reality.
But that's what this review is based on: unsubstantiated anecdotes; overheated rhetoric; and thinly disguised self interest.
I say all of this because when it comes to the argument that is at the core of this debate - the argument that even a small increase in the minimum wage would kill jobs - there is no evidence.
In fact, what the evidence shows is exactly the opposite. What the evidence shows is that employment in the low-wage service sector has actually INCREASED in Alberta whenever we've increased the minimum wage.
The Alberta Federation of Labour has conducted an five-year analysis of the occupations most likely to pay minimum or low wages - occupations in retail sales, cashiers and clerks, food and beverage service workers, and those employed in travel and accommodation.
Since 2005, Alberta has made four upward adjustments in the minimum wage...and every time the number of Albertans working in low wage jobs went up.
In 2005, the minimum wage was boosted from $5.90 to $7.00/hour. One year after the increase, there were 26,700 more Albertans working in the food and beverage, service, and travel/accommodation industries.
In September 2007, the Alberta government boosted the minimum wage from $7.00 to $8.00/hour. In April 2008, they increased it again to $8.40/hour. In the 8-month interval between these increases - and just as the global credit crisis was beginning to shake business and consumer confidence - the number of Albertans working in the food and beverage, retail, and travel/accommodation industries grew from a total of 342,800 to 363,300 employees.
Finally, in April 2009, the minimum wage increased again - from $8.40 to $8.80 per hour.
Around this time overall unemployment in Alberta had increased from 6% in April 2009 to 7.4% in May 2010. If increases in the minimum wage really killed jobs, you'd think surely at this time, when other jobs were being shed, this would happen. But it didn't.
- Employment in food and beverage service, retail sales, and travel/accommodations actually grew in the year since the last minimum wage increase.
- Albertans employed in retail sales as clerks and cashiers grew from 129,600 in April 2009 to 142,400 individuals in May 2010
- Albertans working in food and beverage service went from 64,700 in April 2009 to 68,700 in May 2010
- Albertans working in travel and accommodation services grew from 185,800 in April 2009 to 188,400 individuals in May 2010.
So why have all the conservative predictions about job loss related to minimum wage turned out to be empty phantoms. Partly because they we motivated more by the self-interested desire by some employers to keep wages low. But more importantly, those predictions were wrong because they were based on economic models as opposed to empirical evidence.
Models only work if the assumptions that they're based on a true ... that's why they're dangerous tools to rely on for policy making. Empirical evidence, on the other hand, is by definition true ... it's reality. And reality, not ideologically driven conjecture, should be the basis of all public policy - especially those policies that affect our most vulnerable citizens.
What the empirical evidence from right here in Alberta shows is that there is no substance to the argument that modest, predictable increases in the minimum wage kill jobs. It's a myth, plain an simply.
Unfortunately, it's not the only myth that has been clouding the debate on minimum wage.
For example, there's the minimum wage is a living wage. It's not.
An Albertan earning the minimum wage of $8.80/hour, working 40 hours per week and 50 weeks per year earns $17,600 per year before taxes, which is $4,533 below the before-tax Low-Income Cut-Off for an individual living in a city, better known as the poverty line.
If one is the head of a lone-parent family with two children in Edmonton or Calgary, a full-time hourly wage of $10/hour - the wage earned by 6.9% of working Albertans - still sees that family earning $13,133 per year less than the before-tax Low-Income Cut-Off.
Another myth has to do with the number of Albertans who struggle with low wages. Some people in government and business fond of reminding Albertans that very few workers earn minimum wage - as if this is a justification for keeping the minimum wage far below any accepted measure of poverty.
While it is true that only 1.4% of Alberta workers earn the bare minimum, fully 6.9% of the Alberta workforce earns less than $10/hour and 13.7% earned less than $12/hour, a wage that still constitutes a life of poverty.
The minimum wage is a floor. If the floor is too low, all workers at the lower end of the income ladder suffer... they're dragged down. That's why the minimum wage matters, even if only a small number of workers actually earn that wage.
Another myth is that low-wage earners are predominantly high school students living with their parents, who only work to pay for the latest video game or new cell phone.
This stereotype is an insult to the tens of thousands of Albertans - predominantly women - who are working for low wages in order to put food on the table.
59% of low-wage earners (less than $10/hour) are over 20, and 42% are over 25.
In other words, 42% of low-wage earners are likely to have family responsibilities.
The final myth that I want to address is the myth that Alberta is doing enough for its poor, especially its working poor.
In his letter of invitation for groups to present to this review, Minister of Employment and Immigration Thomas Lukaszuk urged the Standing Committee on the Economy to examine practices in other jurisdictions.
Minimum wage standards are part of an overall strategy to combat poverty and ensure economic security for all Albertans.
However, Alberta is in a minority of provinces without some form of anti-poverty strategy. For example:
- New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Manitoba all have comprehensive anti-poverty strategies, and part of the strategy in all of these provinces is ensuring the minimum wage keeps pace with the economy.
- 6 out of 10 provinces have provincial child benefits similar to the federal Child Tax Benefit, which supplement incomes for families headed by low-wage earners. Alberta is in the minority of provinces without a provincial child benefit.
So what conclusions can be drawn from all of this?
The main conclusion, I think, is that Alberta can and should do better. The other main conclusion is that Alberta can and should base its policy on minimum wage on facts and empirical evidence, not hearsay, rhetoric and self-interested fear-mongering.
And what do the facts tell us?
They tell us that too many working Albertans are suffering with low wages.
They tell us that regular, predictable increases to the minimum wage would help those struggling Albertans.
And they tell us that increases in the minimum wage have not in the pass and will not likely in the future result in the loss of jobs.
The bottom line for us is that Alberta can afford to be a leader in fighting poverty - and any serious strategy to fighting poverty has to include a regularly indexed minimum wage that is at least close to being a living wage.
We believe that anyone who works full-time, full-year in our province should earn a wage that allows them to stay out of poverty. The current minimum wage doesn't do that - and without a system for guaranteeing regular increases, the situation will only get worse as the value of the minimum wage is eroded by inflation.
The Alberta Federation of Labour applauded the government's 2007 decision to tie increases in the minimum wage to the average weekly earnings index.
We recommend that the government return immediately to following its own policy, and boost the minimum wage immediately to $9.05, as it was supposed to happen earlier this year.
In addition, as the economy recovers, the government should consider a one-time boost to the minimum wage in the months ahead.
As we have seen, thousands of Albertans earn less than $10/hour, and many of them are likely to have family responsibilities.
Boosting the minimum wage to $10/hour in the months ahead is unlikely to have any effect on the economy besides giving low-income families a little more breathing room.
Putting more money in the hands of hard-working, low-income people, according to every economic analysis available, actually provides a boost to the economy in times of recession.
As I've said, this is a government that did the right thing for the right reasons on minimum wage. Please do the right thing again. Thank you.
Gil McGowan, President
Alberta Federation of Labour
June 23, 2010
The minister cited the decision as instrumental in insuring the recovery and competitiveness of small businesses as the province bounces back from the recesssion.
"It wasn't a given that minimum wage would increase, it was only in the past two years that the government introduced a reasonably fair system of making regular adjustments to minimum wage," said Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan. "Between the late 80's and late 90's there were long periods of years where minimum wage did not change at all."
McGowan said that during that period, the actual purchasing power of the minimum wage dropped by as much as 60 percent in light of inflation rates.
"We feel we've taken a huge step backward," said McGowan. "It's only recently they did what they should have done 30 years ago by introducing a system to index the minimum wage, and we're incredibly disappointed they are dropping the system barely a year after it was introduced."
The provincial government only started linking the minimum wage increases to the Alberta weekly earning index in June 2007, leading to an increase from $8.00 to $8.40 in April 2008, and to the current 8.80 in April of last year. The minimum wage in Alberta ranks sixth in the country.
"Indexing minimum wage was applauded by the vast majority of Albertans," said McGowan. "The inevitable result is that the value of the minimum wage will erode as inflation continues it's upward march."
McGowan said the real worry is the economic and social impacts the decision will have on the provinces lowest paid workers.
"Without a system for adjustments the minimum wage went from being a subsistence wage to being a real poverty wage when there were no increases," said McGowan. "Our most vulnerable workers will pay the price."
McGowan said if they had stood by the weekly indexing system, the minimum wage would have risen only 12 cents in 2010--an amount he said would have little impact on small businesses.
"I find it hard to believe such a small increase would have had any significant impact on employment," said McGowan. "I don't believe for a minute that this freeze will create jobs or maintain jobs, all it will do is pick the pockets of our vulnerable workers.
McGowan said studies indicate modest increases in minimum wage don't result in job losses during recessions, in fact, wage increases can have the opposite effect.
"Increasing the minimum wage modestly can actually create more jobs because low wage workers tend to spend all their money in local communities instead of saving or investing it, or buying luxury imported goods," said McGowan. "The wages paid to the lowest workers tends to be recycled in their community."
Whitecourt Star, Tues Mar 2 2010
Byline: Mike Constable