Charlottetown, P.E.I. - The Atlantic Convenience Stores Association (ACSA) warned that Prince Edward Island convenience stores will struggle to stay afloat if the government continues increasing the province€™s minimum wage, The Guardian reports.
Mike Hammoud, president of the ACSA, said the neighboring New Brunswick government halted a planned minimum wage increase and P.E.I. should, too.
"We€™d love to see them do the same thing," he said.
The P.E.I. government has plans to increase the minimum wage in three phases with an eventual goal of $10 per hour by April 1, 2012. The next increase is set for Oct. 1 when it goes up to $9.60.
Hammoud said while workers are entitled to a reasonable wage, the cost of doing business with a sudden increase in minimum wage makes it unprofitable for businesses, which can lead to staff cuts or firings.
"They end up working extremely long hours and some of them are even forced into closure," he said. "Now your wages are your number one cost of doing business."
Labor Minister Janice Sherry, the minister responsible for the wage increases, said the Employment Standards Board is required to review P.E.I.€™s minimum wage rate at least once a year.
"This process is completed at an arms-length and public input is received during the review," she said, adding that the board recommended increasing minimum wage by $1 per hour.