Province promises to increase minimum wage twice in 2023

For employers, however, the timing is rather 'unfortunate'

Province promises to increase minimum wage twice in 2023

Prince Edward Island has pledged to increase its minimum wage twice in 2023, according to the provincial government. However, employers have since expressed concern that the hikes might be too much for them amid inflation and other workplace concerns.

In an announcement this week, the P.E.I. government said the province's minimum wage will be hiked by 80 cents on January 1, 2023, followed by another 50 cents on October 1, 2023. These increases mean employees will earn a minimum of $15 per hour by the end of next year.

Read more: Prince Edward Island eases restrictions on employers

Wayne Vessey, chair of the Employment Standards Board, said they considered the "current economic conditions" in their recommendation to boost the wage twice.

"In making the following recommendations the board sought to balance providing some notice to employers (vs. an order effective immediately) with pressing cost increases facing employees, especially during the winter heating season," said Vessey. "The board deliberated those and other factors and perspectives before deciding, by a series of votes, to make the following recommendations."

However, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce expressed concern around the double bump.

"We support the provincial government's desire in ensuring Island employees are properly compensated for their hard work," said Chamber chief executive officer Robert Godfrey. "However, the size and timing of this increase is unfortunate and will have a large impact on employers that are still struggling with inflation, supply chain delays, and the labour shortage."

Read more: What are you legally allowed to do to offset the minimum wage hike?

According to a June survey from the chamber, 55% of employers said their businesses would be "somewhat" or "severely" impacted by the wage hike. To address the increase, 17% of the respondents said they would "decrease staffing" while 14% would reduce hours of operation.

"We encourage the provincial government to explore options when it comes to the real issues of affordability in this province and not download that responsibility to the Island business community with this large increase," said Godfrey.

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