Retailers weigh in on the election, calling for incoming Government to address labour supply challenges, reduce red tape, keep taxes low and invest in education, training, and healthcare
EDMONTON, April 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Alberta Retailers responded to a survey conducted by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and Shelfspace, highlighting top priorities government and industry to work on after the April 23 election. Labour supply challenges over the long-term, reducing red tape, keeping taxes low, and investments in education, training, and healthcare, were all identified as challenges to be addressed.
With the Alberta economy trending upwards, employee recruitment and engagement is one of the retail sector's most significant challenges. Retailers are redoubling their efforts to innovate workplace arrangements, to create growth opportunities, to enhance benefits and incentives packages as well as health and wellness programs and other initiatives. They are doing this to attract potential recruits to the retail sector as well as to ensure that employees are committed to growing with the organizations they work for.
The incoming Alberta Government can help the retail sector by ensuring that its policies:
- keep payroll costs and taxes low
- are focused on increasing flexibility in labour policy, including working with the Federal government on changes to immigration policies
- help to formally integrate retail into the post-secondary curriculum to promote the entrepreneurial benefits of a career in retail
- allow for harmonization in order to reduce regulatory burden and red tape
The retail industry touches the daily lives of Albertans in every corner of the province — by providing jobs, career opportunities, and by investing in communities. Retail employment in Alberta represents 11.5 per cent of total employment in Alberta, with employment in the retail industry expected to grow, on average, 3 per cent annually from 2010 to 2013. Over the last ten years, employment in the retail sector has increased from 185,800 to 231,500 in 2010. Furthermore, the retail industry accounted for 5.2 per cent of Alberta's GDP in 2010, up from 3.9 per cent in 2000.
"By helping the retail sector address some fundamental issues related to labour and harmonization of policies, the incoming Government of Alberta will ensure retail is a key enabler in driving economic growth in Alberta," said Shafiq Jamal, VP Western Canada, RCC.
"In order to continue to enhance the customer experience and remain a key contributor to the Alberta economy, retailers need a flexible and innovative approach from the incoming Government in Alberta," added Mark Startup, President & CEO of Shelfspace.
Additionally, when asked what they would set as priorities for Alberta if they were Premier, survey respondents encouraged the incoming government to focus on investing in the long term future of the province by looking at ways to diversify the province's revenue sources.
About Retail Council of Canada (RCC)
Retail Council of Canada (www.retailcouncil.org) has been the Voice of Retail since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians in every corner of the country — by providing jobs, career opportunities, and by investing in the communities we serve. It is a not-for-profit association which represents more than 45,000 stores of all retail formats, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional and national specialty chains, and online merchants.
About Shelfspace, The Association for Retail Entrepreneurs
Established in 1917, Shelfspace, The Association for Retail Entrepreneurs, is a not-for-profit organization that represents the retail communities of BC and AB. Governed by a dedicated group of retail leaders, Shelfspace exists to serve the retail community through advocacy, cost-savings, education and community engagement, and by sharing the passion for retail excellence.
For further information:
Shafiq Jamal, VP, Western Canada, Retail Council of Canada
Mark Startup, President & CEO, Shelfspace, The Association for Retail Entrepreneurs