The Saint John Board of Trade is pleased with Provincial Government’s decision to postpone the next scheduled increase in the minimum wage until April 2012. The increases in the minimum wage over the past two years have negatively impacted small businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry. “We are pleased that the Government has listened to small business and is giving us the opportunity to consult on this issue and raise the concerns of our small business members who have been negatively impacted by the large increases in their operating costs over a very short period of time” stated Ms. Imelda Gilman, President of the Saint John Board of Trade. “We are encouraged that the government is also taking the next step in exploring tip differentials.”
“The 19 percent increase in the minimum wage over the past two years is well above the inflation rate and it makes it very difficult for a small business to adjust” Ms. Gilman continued.
In 2010 the Saint John Board of Trade convened a Task Force to examine the potential impact of the scheduled minimum wage increases on our members. The Task Force comprised of members in hospitality, law, small and medium sized business and an academic, examined the issue and some of the literature on minimum wage increases and their effectiveness on reducing poverty.
“The members of our Task Force agree that it is not by reducing hours and job opportunities that our economy will grow, but rather by making it easier for employers to hire and expand” Ms. Gilman mentioned. “We are concerned the increase in minimum wage is too aggressive and will actually have a negative impact on small business and the people it is designed to help through potentially reduced employment, fewer job opportunities for young, inexperienced and low-skilled workers, reduced customer service, higher prices, and lower revenues.”
The Saint John Board of Trade is a nationally accredited business organization dedicated to fostering an economic climate that enhances growth, prosperity, and an improved quality of life in the community. With more than 1,000 members, representing 600 small, medium, and large businesses and organizations and therefore, the interests of more than 30,000 citizens, the Board is a dynamic advocate and the principal voice for the business community of Greater Saint John. The elected Board of Directors is representative of the diversity of the membership and their concerns.