Skip to main content

Alberta’s minimum wage went up Saturday by one dollar to $12.20 an hour, and by $1.50 for liquor servers, with the elimination of the liquor-server wage.

Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

Restaurant owners and operators in Alberta say they will have to cut hours or lay people off to cope with a higher minimum wage.

Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president of the Western Canada region of Restaurants Canada, says 78 per cent of operators have said they will cut hours, while nearly half will go through a round of layoffs.

Alberta's minimum wage went up Saturday by one dollar to $12.20 an hour, and by $1.50 for liquor servers, with the elimination of the liquor-server wage.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. von Schellwitz says Alberta members recently participated in a workshop in Calgary to find ways to reduce labour costs.

They looked at balancing what they pay between higher-paid front-of-house service staff and back-of-house kitchen staff who don't earn gratuities through new service charge or self-service options. He says 35 cents of every dollar by a restaurant earned goes to labour costs.

"If you are an owner-operator, you're going to have to work those seven days a week and cover shifts that normally you'd have a staff member cover … in order to stay viable our guys are just saying, 'Look, I guess we're going to have to work more hours to try and keep our labour costs aligned,'" Mr. von Schellwitz said in a phone interview.

"We'd lost a number of food-service businesses over the last year and in the first nine months since the last minimum wage increase, from October to July, we were down several thousand employees already. That doesn't count how many people are getting reduced hours. Their take-home pay is actually less and not more with the minimum-wage increases."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter