Minimum wage increase hits New Brunswick

Minimum wage in New Brunswick is no longer the lowest in Canada. The province saw an increase of 35 cents on April 1.

British Columbia now has the lowest minimum wage of all the province while Nunavut has the highest and $13.

The hike in minimum wage may seem large. But the average working person will only gain an extra $28 a month, and that’s if you work up to 40 hours a week.

And for some people, that isn’t a enough to stay afloat.

Katherine Morehouse/STU Journalism
                                                                                                                      Katherine Morehouse/STU Journalism

Kali Schoreder, retail employee on the North Side of Fredericton, said she would be concerned for people who use their wages to live.

“I think for a student it’s enough, for someone who is just working on like a retail job just on the side or whatever. But for someone who has to make a living off of that I don’t think it’s enough, at all,” she said.

Currently, minimum wage sits below a living wage. A local business, Unplugged Board Game Café knows that. They pay their staff above minimum wage already.

For Travis Grant, co-owner of the café, it’s a question of do we increase anyone, or leave it as is?

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 1.56.49 PM
Travis Grant, owner of Unplugged BoardGame Cafe Credit: Katherine Morehouse

“So as a small business owner, it’s a double edge sword in the sense that okay now I’m going to have to maybe pay more to my employees here, and then the extra little bit of money that people are making, does that bring them into the café,” said Grant.

He said that these things are up in the air. Grant said he hasn’t been open long enough to deal with the ramifications of a minimum wage increase.

Grant describes his business model as different then anything else in Fredericton, and that too makes this increase much more difficult on predict how it might affect his café.

He said that when they opened they were paying their employees much more then athe 10.30 minimum wage pay and he said that helps show the staff they are valued.

"You'll attract more qualified people if you're offering more then the bare minimum," said Grant.
“You’ll attract more qualified people if you’re offering more then the bare minimum,” said Grant.

“Because we thought it’s a value to employees, and I think you attract people who are more qualified if you are paying more then the bare minimum is and I think that tells people we really value you,” said Grant.

The New Brunswick government would like to see minimum wage hit $11 by 2017.