A wage increase for servers and kitchen staff working in Yukon's fast food industry is here to stay, but it's not sitting well with everyone because it only applies to immigrants hired under federal and territorial immigration programs.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) increased the wage for these workers to $15 an hour from $11.75 in October. It includes workers under the Yukon Nominee Program, which allows the Yukon Government to nominate potential immigrants based on labour market needs.
In a teleconference meeting with business owners and the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, ESDC explained the methodology it used to determine the wage, but didn't budge on the amount.
"We're told that it's set in stone," says Shawn Kitchen, Yukon's assistant deputy minister of advanced education, who was at the meeting.
He says the wage hike will affect businesses like Tim Hortons and McDonald's, as well as others.
ESDC explained that it used Yukon's Employment Insurance data to determine the wage. Kitchen says Yukon's small size makes analyses like these challenging.
"In southern Canada, they're using a lot more data because of course they have larger labour market surveys and they have representative samples they can use," says Kitchen.
CBC News contacted ESDC to find out more about its methodology but has not yet heard back.
"(ESDC) did make a commitment to gather as much data as possible and go through a new analysis of this leading up to the update for next year," Kitchen says.
In the meantime, the wage for "quick-service" restaurant workers in the Yukon Nominee Program will remain at $15 an hour.
"I think it's fair to say that employers left the meeting quite frustrated," says Kitchen.
Businesses aren't the only ones at odds with the wage increase. Whitehorse resident Erin Geisbrecht says she doesn't think it's fair that two employees doing the same job could be paid a different wage.
"I believe that all people should be paid equally for equal work and I am disappointed and actually a little distraught that our federal government thinks so little of Canadian workers to put immigrant workers' wages at a higher rate," she says.