Minimum wage to cost city $55,000
Increases to the minimum wage will cost the city $55,000 in 2018.
This may force Pembroke council to rethink its summer student hires when they discuss the budget in January.
On Tuesday, LeeAnn McIntyre, city treasurer, presented a report to the operations committee outlining how the province boosting the minimum wage will affect the city financially.
She said the Province of Ontario passed legislation which will increase the minimum wage from $11.60 to $14 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2018, with an additional increase to $15 hourly in 2019.
“The city has part time staff that work in the facilities that will be affected,” McIntyre said, some 21 people in total. “However, the biggest impact will be the cost to hire summer students, which will be approximately $1,500 per student.”
Each summer, the city hires 26 students to work in the marina, the campground, city parks and elsewhere. She said the city receives student employment grants to offset a portion of student wages, but it is still unknown if the grants will increase to cover the wage hike.
McIntyre said the total increase including statutory benefits for 2018 will be $55,000, $39,000 for the students alone. These costs will be distributed to the appropriate departmental operating budgets.
Mayor Michael LeMay said these costs may impact municipalities, but they will hurt small businesses more. He said this is another example of downloading from the province, and noted Bill 148 which brought in the minimum wage increase will be doing serious economic damage.
“There are some things we cannot control,” he said. “I do know they did this way too quickly.”
Coun. Pat Lafreniere said she is thrilled the minimum wage is going up, as she has watched too many people struggle to make ends meet.
“This will benefit a lot of lives here,” she said, noting this improvement in lifestyle will benefit everyone as people will have more money to spend locally.