Destabilizing speculation

New Year’s pay hike for alcohol waiters receives mixed reviews

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As the new year approaches, thousands of Ontarians will see their paycheques increase when the minimum wage drops to $ 15 an hour.

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Liquor servers will see their wages drop from $ 12.55 an hour to $ 15.

“Obviously that benefits me a lot in terms of my ability to make money. I mean in the restaurant industry you aren’t guaranteed to get a good night’s tip tipping, ”said Naomi, a liquor waitress who until recently had two jobs – one in a small bar, the other in a new concert hall.

She suddenly found herself out of work with the new restrictions in December.

“I guess that means more security in terms of paying bills and a good paycheck to get home, but it literally comes at the worst time,” Naomi said.

She doesn’t know how long she will be out of work.

In an industry that has been battered yet again, the salary increase for liquor servers has left a bitter taste at the Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association of Ontario (ORHMA).

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“The industry has been devastated over the past 20 months,” said Tony Elenis, President and CEO of ORHMA. “You talk about a 22% increase in wages in a very bad and catastrophic climate in an industry with extremely low margins. “

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In addition to capacity limits, companies with servers say the new year won’t start well.

“A lot of them just hang on,” Elenis said. “But once we start heading into the New Year, I don’t see some of them hanging on.”

Russ Piffer, co-owner of the Edmund Burke on the Danforth, said rising liquor server salaries would certainly have an impact on his two local businesses, which had been struggling for 21 months.

“It’s a huge increase of over 20%,” he said. “I don’t know why it couldn’t be integrated gradually. Or why it could not be implemented six months later.

Piffer said he was not doing bad enough to gain government support, nor was he doing well enough “to make ends meet.”

Six weeks after the government announced the wage increases, it unveiled a drop in wholesale prices for alcoholic bars and restaurants purchased from the LCBO effective Jan. 1.

The government has presented this as annual support of around $ 60 million.

Elenis applauded the move but said it still won’t stabilize the already shaken results.

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