I will do my best not to begin this post with the overused ‘New Year New Me’. However I must admit I am thrilled to be starting 2017 in such a beautiful country, and this week I made my way to Montreal. I explored the winding streets of the Old Quarter and discovered the french architecture scattered across the city.
It never ceases to amaze me the number of Australian backpackers you’ll find in every country outside of our own. Montreal was no exception. Bringing in the New Year with a group of fellow wanderlust explorers was a privilege and it certainly provided for a New Year to remember!
On heading back to work this week at the CTF it was abundantly clear the New Year will bring new challenges and undoubtedly some very exciting projects. To begin 2017 I filed a colossal 24 Access to Information request to various Government departments. The requests are for a detailed breakdown of various ‘sick days’ used by Government employees. The CTF remain sceptical that the results will show the numerous departments are ‘in-line’ with private industry standards.
Another project I am currently working on is the push by several provinces to raise the minimum wage and the effects this will have, particularly for small businesses. Although the current minimum wage here in Canada remains relatively low compared to Australia (approximately $10 per hour), the tipping culture distorts take home wages. Other considerations are the extra payroll taxes businesses will need to pay and extra taxes many employees will face due to potentially reaching new tax brackets.
It seems thus far that any multiplier effects and perceived ‘social benefit’ are heavily outweighed by the prospect of rising unemployment. With oil prices remaining relatively low here in Canada, there is a prevalent backlash from many industries. It is certainly a complex issue and I am sure I will keep busy researching the matter in the weeks to come.
Best wishes for the New Year!