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Rathgeber overlooking facts on TFW

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 09, 2014 06:00 am

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Open letter to Mr. Rathgeber:

I would like to respectfully disagree with your stance on temporary foreign workers.

In most cases, they allow businesses to offer minimum wage or less for service industry jobs – the same minimum wage which cannot sustain most Canadians financially.

The solution in my opinion is fairly simple: pay more than the minimum wage.

Before you say, "Most businesses will have fewer hours, fewer staff and/or have to close", please look into the situations in San Francisco, California and Seattle, Washington where the municipalities have instituted mandatory minimum wages higher than federal/state levels.

Both municipalities are listed as having the highest small-business growth in the U.S. (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-22/san-franciscos-higher-minimum-wage-hasnt-hurt-the-economy).

“For those who need more evidence, a new book hopes to persuade them. When Mandates Work: Raising Labor Standards at the Local Level argues that San Francisco’s decision to increase the minimum wage and offer other benefits, such as sick leave pay, hasn’t hurt the city’s economy at all. The three editors – all labour experts – found that from 2004 to 2011 overall private employment grew 5.6 percent in San Francisco and three percent in Santa Clara County. Other Bay Area counties saw an overall 4.4 percent drop during that time. Among food-service workers, who are more likely to be affected by minimum-wage laws, employment grew 17.7 percent in San Francisco, faster than either of the other Bay Area counties.

“A few notes: San Francisco’s minimum wage is indexed to inflation and now stands at $10.74. The federal rate is $7.25, and Obama has talked of raising it to $10.10. Fast-food workers, though, are calling for $15 an hour.”

If it works there, I don't see why it won't work here.

So, if businesses need more workers to apply, maybe they should offer a living wage.

Bringing in more foreign workers also makes them eligible to use our already strained support resources.

Rick Fortier, St. Albert


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