May 8, 2015
NDP win an Alberta majority. What promises did the NDP make that could affect employers?
On Tuesday May 5, 2015, for the first time in its history, the Alberta NDP captured a provincial election, winning a majority with 53 of 87 total seats in the legislature. The Wildrose party will form the Official Opposition with 21 seats. The Progressive Conservatives were relegated to third place with 10 seats while the Liberal and Alberta parties each took one seat. One riding remains undecided.
The province’s sudden political shift may have many Alberta employers curious or concerned about how their workplaces and workforces could be affected by an NDP majority government. While it is too early to know with certainty how the new government will approach workplace issues, during its campaign the NDP promised to:
- increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018. Alberta’s minimum wage is currently $10.20;
- review the provisions in the Employment Standards Code regarding compassionate care leaves;
- avoid interfering with collective bargaining in the public sector, in contrast to Premier Prentice’s promises of hiring and wage freezes. For budgeting purposes, the NDP has built a two percent wage increase for public sector workers into their next budget;
- strengthen rules relating to worker safety on the job;
- reinstitute STEP, the Student Temporary Employment Program, with the aim of creating 3,000 jobs for students per year;
- introduce a job creation plan including a new $89-million Job Creation Tax Credit that provides businesses with a 10 percent rebate on wages paid to new hires, to a maximum of $5,000 per new employee;
- to create jobs by promoting the processing of natural resources within the province; and
- ban both corporate and union donations to political parties.
Companies may also be interested to know about the other campaign promises to:
- increase the corporate tax rate to 12 percent from 10 percent;
- create a Resource Owners’ Rights Commission to review the royalties that oil companies pay to the province, with any amount earned above the current rates to be saved in the Heritage Fund;
- ban gas drilling in urban areas;
- act on climate change, including a phase-out of coal-fired electric plants;
- re-allocate funding from carbon capture and storage projects to higher-priority projects in transit, health care and education; and
- create 2,000 long term care spaces over four years.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.
For more information on new developments in Workplace Law, please refer to our website at: http://www.mathewsdinsdale.com/news-events/in-a-flash/
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