PEI

'Sudden announcement' of minimum wage increase concerns business group

The P.E.I. government needs a better strategy for the minimum wage, says the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber of commerce calls for higher personal income tax exemption

The chamber of commerce is concerned about the rate the minimum wage is increasing. (Karin Larsen/CBC)

The P.E.I. government needs a better strategy for the minimum wage, says the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.

On Wednesday, the province announced an increase in the wage to $11.25 effective April 1.

The chamber expressed concern over what it called a "sudden announcement."

"It's very difficult for business owners to adapt to a wage increase when only given one month's notice," said executive director Penny Walsh  McGuire in a news release.

"Especially after two minimum wage increases were introduced in 2016."

Fix the dates

One month notice is not enough time for business, says Penny Walsh-McGuire. (CBC)

The chamber called for a long-term minimum wage strategy. The strategy should include a review process that involves consulting with stakeholders, a commitment to tie minimum wage increases to the consumer price index, and fixed dates for wage increases.

The chamber also called for an increase in the provincial basic personal income tax exemption to help low-income earners.

The exemption was raised in last spring's budget for the first time since 2008, but the chamber said it is still the lowest in Canada.

Support for increase

The P.E.I. Federation of Labour expressed support on Wednesday for the higher wage.

A higher minimum wage is good for the economy, says Carl Pursey. (CBC)

"This is good news for people who are struggling to pay their bills," said federation president Carl Pursey in the government news release.

"It will put more money into the economy because people spend what they make."

The increase will ensure that P.E.I. keeps the highest minimum wage in Atlantic Canada.

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