Chamber of Commerce concerned minimum wage hike too rapid

The Provincial Government recently announced minimum wage will be increased over the next three years, starting with a jump to $12.20 on June 1, 2018 and increasing annually until 2021 when it will reach $15.20, and Cranbrook's Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the impact it will have.

  • Feb. 13, 2018 12:00 a.m.

The Provincial Government recently announced minimum wage will be increased over the next three years, starting with a jump to $12.20 on June 1, 2018 and increasing annually until 2021 when it will reach $15.20, and Cranbrook’s Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the impact it will have.

“The Chamber made a presentation to the provincially appointed Minimum Wage Commission, when they visited Cranbrook. We had two asks. That, at a minimum, a five-year implementation period to $15 per hour be implemented to give our businesses time to plan and adjust to increases,” said Chamber Executive Director David D. Hull.

“And second, that legislation be enacted to index future increase to the Consumer Price Index to ensure stability and certainty.”

The Cranbrook Chamber joined the BC Chamber of Commerce, as well as their member Chambers and Boards of Trade across BC, in their opposition to a near term rapid rise in the minimum wage to $15/hour.

“A rapid rise in the minimum wage will put pressure on businesses’ bottom line, which can result in having to cut jobs or cut down on employee hours in order to continue operations. These scenarios are not positive for employees, employers or the economy as a whole.”

Hull added his concern that a rise in minimum wage would push up through a company’s work force and render them unviable or uncompetitive.

“Raising the minimum wage tends to ratchet up all wages through an organization, adding additional strains for businesses,” said Hull.

WHO EARNS MINIMUM WAGE?B.C. continues to have a low rate of individuals earning the minimum wage.Of the 1.9 million workers in BC only 93,700 of them earn minimum wage.Less than 5 per cent of workers in BC earn minimum wage.57 per cent of minimum wage earners are youth or young adults aged 15 to 24.55 per cent of youth minimum wage earners live at home with their parents.