(Montreal) The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says the 5.56% increase in Quebec’s minimum wage to $14.25 an hour, which goes into effect on Sunday, will have a significant negative impact on the activities of more than half of its members will have. For its part, the Collective for a Quebec Without Poverty considers this increase to be “irresponsible and offensive”.
Posted at 7:40am
Updated at 4:12 p.m
Since last fall, the collective has been demanding a minimum wage of at least $18 an hour. He estimates that’s the amount needed to lift himself out of poverty by working full-time in Quebec. In 2021, 855,100 workers made $18 an hour or less.
The collective’s spokeswoman, Virginie Larivière, believes that the 75 cent increase in the minimum wage is not enough to offset last year’s increase in the cost of living. Also, she points out that this is the status quo for people earning between $14.25 and $18.
“With the ridiculous increase in the minimum wage, the government not only refuses to lift these people out of poverty, but looks on without batting an eyelid,” he denounced in a press release.me Flow.
She recalls that between March 2019 and March 2021, food banks in Quebec saw a 40 percent increase in the number of people on income using their services. Mme Larivière believes this trend will not reverse soon due to inflation.
The Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet, let it be known last March that he was not closed to the idea that the minimum wage could reach or even exceed $15 per hour in 2023, provided the average hourly wage reaches $30 or more.
“The minister is hiding behind a very dubious economic postulate to justify his tentative increases. On this assumption, a minimum wage of more than 50% of the average wage would lead to massive job losses,” says Virginie Larivière. However, she claims that several Canadian provinces have exceeded this threshold in recent years with no negative impact on employment, such as Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta and Prince Edward Island.
The collective’s spokesman hopes Minister Boulet will show the same empathy to workers as to the companies that have suffered from the pandemic.
A CFIB calculation shows that the hourly minimum wage increase to $14.25 will result in an additional $237.1 million in costs for companies already impacted by cost increases.
CFIB Vice President for Quebec François Vincent adds that the two years of health restrictions have left an average debt of $108,000 per Quebec small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and below-average income for the majority.
A survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that for 79% of its members, the best way to support them in raising the minimum wage is to reduce the overall tax burden or, for 73%, reduce payroll taxes. On the other hand, 58% hope for tax credits.
The CFIB states that reducing the tax burden for SMEs would increase wage conditions more than 70% of the time.
In his opinion, the federal government is proposing more effective measures to combat poverty than a significant increase in the minimum wage. She proposes an increase in the personal base amount, improved job bonuses or targeted tax credits that would directly benefit low-wage workers without putting additional pressure on already fragile SMEs.
CFIB says it has 95,000 members across all industries.
On the occasion of International Workers’ Day, 1ah On May 10, the Collective for a Poverty Free Québec and its partners will participate in the day’s activities themed “Living Like the World.” Her goal is to remind the government that to “live like humans” you need a minimum wage of $18 an hour.