"We are focused on meeting our goal of $15 an hour by 2018,” asserted Labour Minister Christina Gray, who was responding to a recent campaign launched by non-for-profit association Restaurants Canada.
Dubbed ‘Not the Time,’ Restaurants Canada’s campaign insists a minimum wage increase would be illogical and unviable in Alberta’s current economic climate.
“Such a dramatic change would not only affect those who rely on tips for their livelihood, it would also rob youth and first time job seekers of opportunities for work,” claims the website.
“These promises were made when oil prices were high and unemployment was low, but things have changed,” it adds.
Labour Minister Christina Gray, however, disagrees.
"I have to say this is exactly the time for a fair wage because all Albertans deserve a living wage," she told CBC News. "We've got too many hard-working people and hard-working parents struggling to make ends meet."
Billed as “the voice of foodservice,” Gray acknowledged Restaurants Canada as an important stakeholder and promised the organization would be included in ongoing discussions.
"They'll absolutely have a place at our table," she stressed.
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Alberta will push ahead with its planned minimum wage hike despite mounting pressure from the restaurant industry – that’s the pledge one official made recently as she criticized an online campaign calling for postponement.