Opinions

Wage hike lowers quality of life

As a long-time conservative province, Alberta citizens made a call for change in 2015 by electing the New Democratic Party (NDP) into office.

The most notable change they have put into place is perhaps the minimum wage hike.

While attempting to lessen the wealth gap is important, Alberta has seemed to thrive under the rollercoaster-style economy, even with being tied for the lowest minimum wage in Canada at $10.20 an hour, with those serving liquor earning only $9.20 in 2015 when the NDP were elected.

One big advantage of living in Alberta, specifically Calgary, is that you get the big city vibes without the cost of living that faces citizens living larger Canadian metropolises such as Vancouver and Toronto.

Small, local businesses thrived, but now we’re seeing more and more “For Lease” signs around town as even longstanding businesses such as Arnold Churgin and Catch are being forced to close their doors.

National on 8th’s general manager, Brian Beaudoin, said the hospitality industry is already starting to feel the changes.

“The [profit] margins are already pretty small in the hospitality industry,” he said.
“We have increased our prices a little, but I honestly think that people will be ordering right from an iPad in the near future. It’s already happening at the Toronto airport.”

Beaudoin is referring to a new concept being rolled out at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, as well as La Guardia Airport in New York, and Minneapolis-St.Paul International.

It allows travellers to place orders and have them delivered right to their terminal without having to talk to a single soul.

Travellers may find it new and exciting for now, but what about actual face-to-face interactions?

Sure, travelling can be stressful and you might not want to talk to anyone while you’re groggy and jetlagged, but imagine this being the reality in every food and beverage outlet.

It makes sense that cutting out the middleman, in this case servers, would be the first way that restaurants will begin to attempt to save themselves money.

There are already the misconceptions that because of wage increases, consumers shouldn’t have to tip hospitality workers.

Ana Biagi also works in the industry, but said an increase in wage has benefited her as a line cook at Earl’s Dalhousie location.

“I was getting paid more than minimum wage before it went up, so when it got raised, they scaled it so that I am still getting paid more than minimum wage,” said Biagi.

Biagi is one of the seemingly few who have received adequate adjustments in the wake of the wage raise.

Employees of a privately owned Tim Hortons franchise in Ontario recently made headlines as their health benefits were reduced and paid breaks were eliminated because of the minimum wage increase of $2.40 to $14 on Jan. 1 of this year.

Luckily, the owners of Tim Hortons have spoken out against the cuts, but it goes to show the lengths businesses will go to in order to save a few bucks.

The only things that drastic increases of minimum wage has seemed to do is raise cost of living, slash jobs and/or employee benefits and move us more towards automation and further away
from human interactions.

As if we needed more ways to make our daily lives less personable.

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