05/21/2015 10:42 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 05:59 EDT

Canadian Federation of Independent Business criticizes plan to hike minimum wage

EDMONTON - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is warning about the possible repercussions if the new NDP government in Alberta goes through with its campaign promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018.

Amber Ruddy, a senior policy analyst with the federation, says the combination of a proposed two per cent corporate tax increase and a minimum wage increase could lead businesses to move elsewhere.

She says small-business confidence is at a low in Alberta compared to the rest of the country.

She says the new government needs to send the right signals "by not raising the cost to do business at a time when business owners are struggling.”

Two per cent of Alberta’s workforce makes minimum wage while 95 per cent of businesses are small businesses.

Ruddy says most who earn minimum wage are in entry level positions, but that doesn’t mean the answer is raising the minimum wage.

“If the idea is that perhaps some people are stuck there, maybe we should be focusing on training them up and giving them more skills so they can get out of those situations, instead of forcing everyone across the board to pay a $15 minimum wage.”