SURREY – The Surrey Board of Trade thinks B.C.’s minimum wage increase is happening too fast.
In a release, the business group says it’s concerned about the impact the hike will have over the next three years.
The increases start June 1, 2018 with a jump to $12.20, increasing annually on June 1 until $15.20 is reached in 2021.
“When I presented our position to the provincially appointed minimum wage commission, the Surrey Board of Trade asked for two items: a five year implementation, to give our small businesses time to adjust to increases; and, for all future increases to be indexed to the Consumer Price Index to ensure stability and certainty,” said SBOT CEO Anita Huberman in a release.
“Our small businesses, especially those in the service sector, are vulnerable to increasing costs from various sources. I am especially concerned that this may be the straw that breaks some of them,” she said.
The board of trade notes businesses are facing increased property taxes increases in taxes due to recent federal tax changes to the CCPC, and now substantial increases in payroll – with the subsequent increases in their portion of payroll taxes such as EI, CPP, etc.
“The cost of living is a major concern for our members as employees need to be able to thrive in the community,” said Huberman. “However, too big a jump may possibly lose some of them their jobs as employers try to balance their books as a result of these jumps. I hope that other strategies of offsetting cost of living expenses will be implemented.”
But Labour Minister and Surrey MLA Harry Bains says the increase is better for the economy.
“People making minimum wage need to be able to pay rent and put food on the table,” said Bains. “People working full time should not be fighting poverty.”
-With files from Tom Zytaruk