Many businesses in and around Estevan are watching the scene unfold in Ontario after they changed their minimum wage from from $11.60 to $14 an hour.
"I believe if that much of an increase did happen here," shared Jackie Wall, Executive Director with the Estevan Chamber of Commerce, "there would probably a lot of backlash as well.
"I know a lot of businesses pay above minimum wage as it is but those that are paying minimum wage, the key in any kind of increase is that it's communicated effectively. That we don't have such a large increase. The increments need to be communicated, they need to come with a lot of warning so that companies can take a look at how they are going to manage those increases and to have a jump that large, they really should have taken a look at smaller incremental changes."
"I think that Saskatchewan does a better job at keeping an eye on minimum wage and making sure the increases aren't so dramatic."
Saskatchewan increased their minimum wage from $10.96 to $10.72 on October 1, 2017.
Wall noted that in the case with Ontatio, it wasn't the increase that caused the reaction, but the fact that it went up by $2.40.
"I truly believe that. I'm not saying that it wasn't necessary, but when you're looking at that kind of an increase it does really take time for businesses to take a look at how they are going to implement any kind of large cost increases. A lot of Ontario business also had the large increases in their energy costs over the last few years as well."
"Any kind of a large increase for a business, they need time to take a look at how they are going to absorb those costs, how they're going to recover those costs, how they are going to fit those into their budget?"
It isn't just Ontario businesses that deal with sudden large increases in costs.
"In Estevan and area, we had large increases in the property tax for a lot of businesses. And those came very quickly and were huge, huge increases. How do you allocate for those and how do you take the time to figure out how you're going to manage those?"
Wall added that this year is the 25th Anniversary of Estevan Business Showcase. There will be new rates for vendors and free admission.