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OUR VIEW: Minimum wage still minute

Today, June 1, British Columbia’s minimum wage rises to $16.75 per hour from $15.65
Nickels and dimes. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Today, June 1, British Columbia’s minimum wage rises to $16.75 per hour from $15.65.

Many owners of businesses large and small will be wringing their hands worrying about how this will affect their bottom line, emphasis on their.

Their concern is not without merit. In an economy like this, where the cost of food, taxes, utility rates, mortgages, rent and gas and just about everything else is hit by rising inflation, so-called ‘shrink-flation,’ and price-gouging, almost everyone is feeling not just a pinch but a harsh squeeze. If it were not for businesses, people who aren’t self-employed wouldn’t have jobs, even if those jobs pay only $16.75 – hardly anything near a live-able wage. On the flip side, if people aren’t adequately paid for their time and labour, businesses will experience difficulty recruiting and keeping employees.

According to a government bulletin, this latest wage increase of 6.9 per cent reflects B.C.’s inflation rate for 2022 and will “positively affect” some 150,000 workers in this province. On June 1, 2018, it was $12.65 per hour. The NDP should be commended for raising the minimum wage to help low-paid workers in their financial struggle to survive.

That said, people working for minimum wage should also be commended for choosing to work rather than simply turning to the dole. Living Wage for Families BC sets a ‘living wage’ in Metro Vancouver at $24.08 – that’s for two full-time working adults to be able to meet basic needs for a family of four.

“Having a minimum wage that keeps up with inflation is a key step to prevent the lowest paid workers from falling behind,” reads a statement attributed to Minister of Labour Harry Bains, NDP MLA for Surrey-Newton.

Key? More like a tiny step.

We’re all falling behind.


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