TIAPEI reacts to minimum wage hike
November 12, 2019
TIAPEI Reacts to Minimum Wage Hike
Charlottetown, PE- The Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island has mixed emotions regarding the recently announced sixty cent per hour increase to the minimum wage, to take effect April 1, 2020. “While we see this as good news for employees earning the basic minimum wage on PEI, we are very concerned about the effect this will have on small business owners.” says CEO Kevin Mouflier. Most tourism businesses set their budgets and next season’s pricing in August in order to align with deadlines for advertising in provincial publications such as the PEI Visitor’s Guide and, Mouflier notes, “this increase will impact their employee costs and budgets.” TIAPEI and other business organizations have be long-time advocates of a year’s notice for increases.
Many positions available within the tourism industry pay above minimum wage and TIAPEI feels many owners will have to look at increasing prices on goods and services or reducing hours and staffing levels to absorb the additional expense. In an industry which as increasing difficulties with labour shortages, this is an added concern.
For several years, in submissions to the Prince Edward Island Employment Standards Board’s Annual Minimum Wage Review, TIAPEI has advocated substantial increases to the Basic Personal Tax Exemption would provide more relief to low income workers than increases to the minimum wage. TIAPEI argues that increases in the hourly wage rates generally result in moving to higher income tax brackets, whereas a higher Basic Tax Exemption actually keeps more money in pockets of the people who need it the most. Currently PEI’s Personal Tax Exemption is one of the lowest in Canada. TIAPEI will continue to lobby Government to raise the exemption.
Tourism is the second-largest industry on Prince Edward Island. The industry provides 7,700 full time equivalent jobs for Islanders. It also accounts for $486 million in economic activity each year and 6.3 percent of GDP, the highest percentage of any province in Canada.