The new NDP government in Alberta has indicated that it will aggressively increase the province’s minimum wage from $10.20 to $15 per hour over the next three years.
When Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced a budget update and a revised, lower forecast for provincial economic growth, it was yet another piece of evidence that Ontario’s economy is sluggish. But Ontario’s problems run deeper than just one fiscal update from one finance minister.
When French President Francois Hollande visited Canada recently, one hopes the Gallic leader looked around. If he did, he would have noticed a stark difference in the economic opportunities between the two countries with the advantages mostly on this side of the Atlantic.
What a world it would be if governments could simply legislate higher pay for low-wage workers without any ill effects. But we live in the real world and here public policy should be informed by evidence, not just good intentions. The reality that many labour activists fail to realize is that when governments mandate wage floors, there are real adverse effects. And the people hurt are often the most vulnerable with the least skills.
When I lived in the idyllic city of Victoria, a photocopier salesman once tried to lease me one of his machines by noting mine was made in Japan (while his was manufactured in Canada). He told me I should lease the latter and not the former to support Canadian jobs.
The salesman couldnt have known this, but Id spent two years in the land of the rising sun, so he lost me at Japan. I like it when my fellow Canadians have jobs; I also like it when my friends in Japan are employed.