Minimum wage hike may cause layoffs, business group says

An upcoming increase to the minimum wage in New Brunswick may force business owners to reduce hours or lay off employees, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Provincial government is raising minimum wage in New Brunswick by 30 cents per hour on Dec. 31

An upcoming increase to the minimum wage in New Brunswick may force business owners to reduce hours or lay off employees, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

"Businesses in New Brunswick right now are not exactly rolling in dough and they have to make some very ugly choices," said Dan Kelly, the CFIB's president.

"And the choices are reducing the number of hours that they have for their staff and sometimes even reducing the number of positions."

Minimum wage increase could have disastrous effects for business owners, says Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. (CBC)

Chris Hotchkiss, the owner of Hotchkiss Furnishings, said he will feel the impact of the wage increase and may make changes at his two furniture stores as a result.

"It's going to make it harder for small businesses because of the expenses that we have and you have to be profitable to employ people ... so you can run your business successfully," Hotchkiss said.

"We'll just have to factor around that and maybe put our prices up to combat the increase," Hotchkiss added.

The provincial government announced on Friday that it will be raising the minimum wage from $10 to $10.30 on Dec. 31.

Those with the skillset to leave the province will probably continue to do so.- Danny Léger, CUPE New Brunswick

New Brunswick is currently tied with the Northwest Territories as having the lowest minimum wage across the country.

Raising the minimum wage is a step in the right direction, but 30 cents more isn't enough, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

"It's a bit of a help, it's a bit of an increase. But is it enough? Is it a living wage? I would argue that it's not," said Danny Léger, president of CUPE New Brunswick.

The increase isn't enough to keep people from heading west of New Brunswick for work, according to Léger.

"Those with the skillset to leave the province will probably continue to do so."