The provincial government has struck a panel to study minimum wage and it shouldn't take long before a public debate begins anew.
The last time the wage was moved in stages over a few years to the present level of $10 an hour, there was plenty of handwringing by business owners who worried the hike would put them out of business. That obviously was wasted worry. A few marginal operations may have shut their doors, but for the most part, everyone adapted and businesses continued to make money.
Business owners may not admit it but the rise in the minimum wage may have actually been a benefit to them and their operations in the long run. Finding workers for unskilled jobs in this province is becoming more and more difficult as the workforce ages and many workers either leave for a better life in Alberta or make a solid living flying back and forth to jobs out west.
Having a minimum wage at a level that keeps some workers in this province and encourages others who are retired to work part time takes some of the stress off employers who always need enough staff to service their customers.
There are always some snarky few who say unskilled workers don't deserve anything near $10 an hour and ask why we are considering giving them even more?
Those people should try to live on $400 a week or less to feed their families and pay for a place to live.
They are also often the first ones to complain when they go to a local store and can't find a worker to assist them when they need information or directions or have to wait an extra minute for a menu. No business wants to pay out money unnecessarily but paying staff a living wage is far from a waste.
It pays off in the end — for both sides.