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Greater Victoria, BC News

ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
6/12/2015 Published Article
Minimum Wage – Leave it Be!

With the discussion about minimum wage re-emerging in Alberta, what do we think about B.C.’s minimum wage? Is the 18-year old working for minimum wage in downtown Victoria being provided adequate compensation?

First, what is B.C’s minimum wage? Presently, it is $10.25 an hour, up from $8.00 an hour in April 2011. The B.C. Government announced in March 2015 that the general minimum wage will increase to $10.45 in September 2015.

Second, how is minimum wage calculated? In March 2015, the B.C. Government announced that minimum wage will be based on the B.C. Consumer Price Index (CPI). Positive B.C. CPI change over the previous calendar year will see increases to the minimum wage, while negative CPI change will see minimum wages remain as is. Each March, the B.C. Government will announce the minimum wage rate effective Sept. 15.

Third, who receives minimum wage? According to the B.C. Government, 110,400 British Columbians received minimum wage in 2014. That is 5.9 percent of the paid workforce, below the national average of 7.2 percent. Ninety-one percent of the 110,400: worked in the service producing sector, e.g. retail and hospitality; 57 percent were part-time; and 52 percent lived with their parents. With seven percent of the 110,400 a head of a family, it may be safe to assume that the majority of minimum wage recipients are entry-level youth.

As the voice of the business community, is The Chamber satisfied with minimum wage and the planned mechanism for future changes?

Upon close examination, we find that the B.C. minimum wage policy is:

• Predictable: Employers now have a predictable process so that they can plan, grow, and invest with confidence.
• Fair: Employers have a process that considers the impact on both employers and workers.
• Transparent: Employers have a process that is open and non-partisan.
• Supportive to our economy: As job-creators, employers have a process that does not discourage investment, job creation, and economic growth.

As a predictable, fair and transparent policy that is supportive to our economy, B.C.’s minimum wage works well to ensure those earning minimum wage are compensated for their work, while contributing to economic prosperity within the Greater Victoria area.

By Bruce Carter, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

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