$14.25/hr | Mixed reactions to the minimum wage increase

Increase in the minimum wage in Quebec from Sunday, May 1, bringing it to $14.25 an hour, representing a 75 cents increase in the hourly rate.

Posted at 7:52

According to data from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, 301,100 people in Quebec will benefit from the increase in the general minimum wage.

For tipped workers, the minimum wage rises to $11.40 an hour, which is a 60 cent increase.

Also note that the minimum wage to be paid to a worker who exclusively picks raspberries or strawberries is $4.23 (+$0.22) and $1.13 (+$0.06) per kilogram, respectively, according to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity.

A sharp increase that hurts SMEs

Employers are pointing out that this 5.56% increase in the minimum wage represents an additional cost of $237.1 million for businesses, worrying the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which notes this new one. context of the vulnerability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), affected by rising costs.

The two years of health restrictions have resulted in an average debt of $108,000 per SME in Quebec, as well as subpar income for the majority of them.

François Vincent, Vice President for Quebec at the CFIB

“The reality is that their ability to absorb cost increases is not infinite,” François Vincent, vice president for Quebec at the CFIB, said in a press release.

As many as 60% of SMEs believe that rising costs are having a significant negative impact on their business, according to the SME group, which has 95,000 members across all business sectors and regions.

According to Mr Vincent “this will have a clear impact on entrepreneurs who have no choice but to raise prices”.

The CFIB believes that other solutions exist in the Quebec government to help employers offer their employees better salary conditions, in particular by offering tax credits to SMEs or by lowering payroll taxes.

Workers getting poorer

However, the discourse is very different on the part of the Collective for a Quebec Without Poverty, which finds that this 75 cent increase in the hourly minimum wage rate is “irresponsible and offensive to the hundreds of thousands of workers living in poverty and who are living a little more every day.” lose their purchasing power”.

“With its ridiculous increase in the minimum wage, the government is not only refusing to lift these people out of poverty, but is watching them become impoverished without flinching,” said Virginie Larivière, spokesperson for the Collective.

She points out that this increase in the minimum wage doesn’t even counteract the effects of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which rose 6.7% in Quebec from March 2021 to March 2022, “unheard of in the past 30 years.”

“Last November, the Food Banks of Quebec reminded us that the number of people with income from work using their services has increased by 40% due to the pandemic and high inflation. There is every indication that the trend will not be reversed…and the government is washing its hands! she denounced.

Since last fall, the Collective for a Quebec Without Poverty, which unites 36 organizations, has demanded a minimum wage of at least $18 an hour.

Insufficient minimum wage, denounces Québec solidarity

Quebec’s representative in charge of work solidarity, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Deputy Alexandre Leduc, also deplores a completely outdated view of the Legault government regarding the progress of the minimum wage in Quebec.

“Every week I come across companies that advertise a starting salary above the minimum wage. These companies have understood something that the government still does not understand: a viable minimum wage is a means of overcoming the difficulty of recruiting because it makes minimum wage positions more attractive,” explains Mr. Lead out.

A month ago, Labor Secretary Jean Boulet hinted that the minimum wage could exceed $15 an hour by 2023.

According to the member of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, this symbolic amount that has long been claimed is no longer relevant.

“Frankly! Five years ago it took $15, today not a living wage. We’ve been talking about the cost of living for months, does Mr. Boulet believe that people on minimum wages are immune to the increase in all basic commodities? I’m unlucky with him to tell them that this is not the case and that a decent and attainable minimum wage today is $18 an hour,” reiterated MNA Alexandre Leduc.

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