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Monday, December 11, 2017

Businesses Struggle With Wage Hike

Owen Sound | by Claire McCormack  

The minimum wage hike in January has local businesses taking cost saving measures.

European Bakery Head Server Diane Farrow (L) Owner Sophie Douglas (R) 

January's minimum wage hike is forcing some local businesses to take cost saving measures to accommodate the financial hit.

The Wynne Liberal government's Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act will hike the  minimum wage from $11.60 an hour to $14 an hour on January 1st and $15 an hour in 2019.

Sophie Douglas owns The European Cafe and Bakery in Owen Sound on 16th Street East and has cut back on her hours of operation as a cost saving measure.

"It's not so much the actual increase, it's the speed in which it's being done," says Douglas.

She says wage hikes have been manageable in the past when they went up in smaller increments.

Douglas calculates it would have cost her $65,000 more next year to operate the same hours with the increase in wages.

She has 28 employees in her bakery and cafe which offers all day breakfast and a selection of beaked breads, wraps, sandwiches and desserts, "28 people times 3.40...that's a lot of money," says Douglas.  

She feels the Liberals' decision to raise the wage in January is a bad idea because it's the slowest month for many businesses, "It goes to show you they have little to no understanding of a small business," says Douglas.

To accommodate the change, she plans to do more serving work herself, instead of using that time to focus on catering and other ways of growing and strengthening her business.

"It's going to be really hard on me and my family because I'm going to have to pick it up or else. There's only so much money to pay everybody out."

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