Albertans making minimum wage are now making an extra dollar every hour. On Saturday, the wage was officially increased to $12.20.
David Kaiser is the President of the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association. He spoke to the Alberta Morning News about how the hospitality industry may be affected by the increase. While most of the jobs within the industry already had an average wage higher than the new minimum, one sector will be heavily impacted.
“Any of the food and restaurant operations, and certainly restaurants outside our industry as well,” said Kaiser. ” It’s been very, very challenging in these times to really make any bottom line dollars.”
Among the most affected by the economic downturn have been the hotels and restaurants of rural Alberta. Once, these businesses were able to rely on the steady revenue that came with a booming energy sector. With the downturn in the oil industry, this is no longer the case.
“When you only have one economic driver in some of these areas and it’s not firing on any cylinders,” Kaiser said. “We know those properties are losing money.”
Despite these hardships, Kaiser noted that it’s not all bad news for the hospitality industry. Many Albertans are opting to travel within the province to resorts and national parks in lieu of more expensive travel.
“We’ve never seen better results out of the resorts,” he said. “And we’ve had some excellent uptick in the number of people coming from the U.S. and even international travel has been strong.”
The increase makes Alberta’s minimum wage the highest of any province in Canada. (KLM)