Small Business Critic upset with minimum wage announcement

The BC NDP provincial government is planning to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021, and is setting up a Fair Wages Commission, it has been announced.

"Raising the minimum wage is only one way the new government will make life more affordable for British Columbians, but it's an important start", said Minister of Labour Harry Bains.

"British Columbia's lowest-paid workers need a raise", Horgan said.

As of September 15, the minimum wage will jump from $10.85 per hour to $11.35 per hour, giving B.C. the third-highest minimum wage in Canada - up from seventh.

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The composition will focus on gradually achieving a $15 an hour minimum wage by 2021. "If we inflate wages too quickly and a business model can't absorb that spike in cost over a short period of time, the person that ultimately pays for it is the customer". "Rest assured, an increase to the minimum wage is coming".

"Just because they're doing it doesn't mean it's going to be done well", Litwin said, adding that studies out of the USA found increasing wages too quickly results in businesses reducing hours or cutting staff.

"We're really proud of our government and our jobs plan that we were able to increase employment for youth and part of that is a strategy of trying to target programs around training and things to help support that".

"We've listened to business owners, who have told us gradual, predictable increases are the way to go to minimize the impact on their businesses", Bains said.

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That could entail eliminating tolls and MSP premiums, freezing hydro rates, and creating childcare spaces, as promised during the election campaign.

Bains said the establishment of the Commission now is a direct result of the agreement with the BC Greens which allowed the BC NDP to take power.

"Restaurants Canada is pleased that the BC government is maintaining the previously-announced 2017 minimum wage increases that small businesses have been preparing for". The commission's first report will be due by December or January. Alberta's minimum wage is the highest among Canadian provinces, and is set to increase this fall.

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