B.C.'s minimum wage increase could impact small businesses in the Northwest, official says
B.C. Minister of Labour Harry Bains announced B.C.'s minimum wage will go up 45 cents on June 1. (Harry Bains/Instagram)
Starting June 1, B.C.’s lowest paid workers will get a pay boost to $15.65 an hour, the highest minimum wage amount amongst all provinces.
Agnes Estimo, a janitor at Metropolis Shopping Centre and member of @seiulocal2can joins Labour Minister @HarryBainsSN announcing new minimum increases. All workers earning a minimum wage across BC will be receiving a 3% increase this June – going from $15.20 to $15.65. pic.twitter.com/Rh3gnizzbo— Justice for Janitors (@J4JL2) March 14, 2022
Prior to 2017, B.C. had one of the lowest minimum wages in the country but was considered one of the most expensive places to live. The increases have benefited close to 400,000 British Columbians over the years, the majority of whom are women, immigrants and youth.
“We do not want our lowest-paid workers to fall behind. The minimum wage increases tied to inflation are part of our plan to build an economy that works for everyone," said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour.
This increase to $15.65 an hour is the first one to be tied to British Columbia's average annual inflation rate. This year's rate is 2.8% and was calculated from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.
The Terrace Chamber of Commerce has some concerns when it comes to the impact this increase will have on small businesses.
“I don’t think these increases are the only answer. We need to start looking at this from different angles to help support our businesses and underemployed. Their largest cost is labour and this really hits small business owners,” said Thomas Keller, President of The Chamber of Commerce.
Keller’s concerns remain with the smaller businesses in the Northwest region as they could start closing their doors due to the number of costs that are piling up on a monthly basis.
“With real estate prices going up as well as the cost of goods, it’s just becoming more and more difficult for these businesses,” Keller adds. “This is the time for us to be communicating so we can come together as a region with new ideas. The more that we talk as a group, the better chance we have to find solutions to ensure that the right amount of people are employed and that business owners are doing the right thing for their staff and community.”