Engaging Minister Gray on the workforce issues impacting your business
Bow Valley Chamber meets with the Minister of Labour
Alberta Minister of Labour Christina Gray and MLA for Banff-Cochrane Cam Westhead visited the Chamber office to discuss current workforce issues in the Bow Valley communities.Elaine McPherson, Secretary for the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce board and Janet Nysted, head of the Chamber's advocacy committee were representing the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Here are the highlights of the meeting:
- Employment Standards and Labour Relations Code: Changes will come into effect on January 1, 2018. The changes to vacation entitlements and termination pay were not as drastic as anticipated as the Government did not want to impose this additional cost to employers now. Over the next 6 month, Alberta Labour will be implementing an online-audit tool where small and medium sized businesses can check if they are in compliance with the new code. We will send you an update once this tool is online.
- Affordable Housing: continues to be the largest challenge in sustaining long-term employment in the Bow Valley region.Everyone agreed that there is no quick fix to this issue.
- Minimum Wage Increases: Over the next 2 years, employers will incur and additional cost of $3250 per year for each FTE (Full Time Equivalent).This will be extremely difficult for small business owners.Minister Gray stated the importance of bringing the minimum wage on par or at least closer to the living wage required in Alberta.Those that receive a higher wage will spend their earnings in the communities that they live in.
- Broadband Internet: Next to the affordable housing issue, access to Broadband Internet is another important issue for the Bow Valley Region and our effort to diversify the economic drivers to include the knowledge economy.
- Worker Shortage and Temporary Foreign Workers: Businesses in the Region require Temporary Foreign Workers to sustain them.The $1,000 non-refundable application fee per worker for an LMAO is restrictive for business owners – especially when it doesn’t guarantee a placement.The application process if very complex and especially difficult for ESL business owners.Minister Grey committed to advocate this issue for us with the Federal Government.
On behalf of our Chamber Members, we would like to thank Minister Gray for meeting to discuss the labour issues facing the Bow Valley.