The Liberal government is discussing an increase in B.C.’s minimum wage.
Any increase, though, will be gradual, according to the province, and tied to economic growth and the Consumer Price Index.
Labour and poverty groups, on the other hand, argue that wages are stagnant and want the minimum wage to be more in line with other provinces.
Some have already moved minimum wage rates above $11 or $12 an hour, leaving B.C.’s rate of $10.45 at the back of the pack.
Labour and poverty groups are suggesting a rate closer to $15 an hour.
But too much too soon could do more harm than good.
One fear in raising the rate is whether or not businesses that employ numerous minimum wage workers, such as restaurants, would be able to absorb the increase.
They might choose to hire fewer workers, cut back hours, or lay off or train fewer staff, maybe raise prices instead. That could hurt youth – students – in particular.
And if minimum wage workers received such an increase, might more skilled employees demand more, as well? That, again, could lead to an increase in the costs of goods and services.
Such increases could eliminate any gains for those paid the minimum wage, and further put more stress on those on any form of income assistance.
The latter are most in need of help.
Living on the current minimum wage is no doubt difficult, especially as prices escalate.
We agree, any raises to the minimum wage should be gradual.
But more so, more needs to be done for those most in need. B.C. remains the only province in Canada without an anti-poverty strategy. One could include increases to welfare and disability rates, and more supportive housing.
That’s a better place to start.
– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News