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Quebec Solidaire wants a $20 minimum wage. Here's why the independent business federation is against it

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The idea of a minimum hourly wage of $20 raised by Quebec Solidaire (QS) at its convention last weekend has been met with disapproval by a group of some 97,000 small and medium-sized Canadian businesses.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has calculated that, assuming that the number of hours worked at the minimum wage is similar to that in 2022, such an increase would entail additional direct costs of $1.09 billion for Quebec employers.

The CFIB argues that such an increase, estimated at 31 per cent, would have a significant negative impact on small business in Quebec and would put considerable pressure on consumer price inflation.

Quebec CFIB vice-president François Vincent points out that such a wage increase would entail additional direct costs of $11,373 for an employer hiring a single person at the full-time minimum wage.

In the current context of sharply rising costs that put small businesses at a disadvantage, CFIB is reiterating its call for tax measures to directly support workers, such as an increase in the basic personal amount, work bonuses or targeted tax credits.

At its convention in Gatineau, QS said it wanted to propose a radical solution to deal with the current economic difficulties, including raising the minimum wage from the current rate of $15.25 to $20 an hour.

QS party members also voted in favour of creating a school meals program in all primary and secondary schools, and in favour of capping the profit margins of large food chains.

QS also wants to remove the Quebec tax (QST) from used goods and repair services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 28, 2023. 

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