Many people are aware of the minimum wage increase on Oct. 1, 2016. The minimum wage went up to $12.20 per hour to reflect Alberta’s plan to increase the wage to $15 per hour by 2018. Although there have been some complaints about this, members of the service industry are concerned about the future.

Hear directly from Amy Evans and Celia Lindsay above. Produced by Sarah Allen

In the past, servers in restaurant and bars have been paid a wage lower than the minimum because of the tips they receive from customers, but as of Oct.1, 2016, servers have been grouped in with the rest of Alberta’s minimum wage earners.

Servers are now concerned that if customers learn of the pay raise, they may tip less or stop tipping their servers completely.MinWage MainBodyA cocktail shaker sits on the bar at Pop’s Taphouse in Calgary, Alta. Photo by Sarah Allen

This could be problematic as servers are required to tip out to other staff members for their part in providing service to tables.

Amy Evans, server at Pop’s Taphouse in Calgary, Alta., describes her hesitation over the pay raise and what customers will think.

“People are pissed. Waitresses can make a lot of money, so I can understand why it would upset people.”

Celia Lindsay, massage therapist and former server, discusses the impact on the economy.

“When you think about the wage increase, you also have to think about how that is affecting the economy. For those who aren’t getting that raise at their jobs, costs will still go up.”

Lindsay also points out that while rising wages may help with consistency in salary for servers, customer count varies from day to day and tips cannot be counted on. Because of this, there are other issues regarding their employers.

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Lindsay says that due to higher cost for labour, owners and managers in Alberta’s establishments will likely have to cut back on shifts given to servers.

Because of the shift cuts, there will be fewer servers waiting on more tables, making good service difficult to achieve.

Lindsay adds that food and beverage costs may rise, hours of operation may shrink, and some places may even have to close their doors.

Ultimately, Alberta may be seeing some major changes in the service industry based on the elevated rate of pay for its servers.

The editor responsible for this piece is Maria Dardano, and can be contacted at

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