Invermere, BC – The BC Federation of Labour has launched a campaign to increase the minimum wage to $15.00/hour. The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce is in agreement with the BC Chamber of Commerce perspective: this idea is simply irresponsible.
The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce President, Amanda Robinson, says, “Now that our local economy is finally showing signs of recovery from the 2008 worldwide recession, a minimum wage increase at this time would negate the work that we are doing to promote the Columbia Valley communities as a year round destination.”
A minimum wage of $15/hour represents an almost 50% increase in labour costs for business. Simply put, this hike may threaten viability of many small businesses, particularly in the service sector. Businesses are still struggling to accommodate the recent significant increase to BC’s minimum wage. Announced in 2011, the government introduced a three-stage increase representing a 28% increase in BC’s minimum wage:
from $8.00 to $8.75 in May 2011,
then to $9.50 in November 2011, and
then the final incremental increase to $10.25 in May 2012.
The Chamber repeats its call: any increase in the minimum wage should come with clearly defined, measureable outcomes and done in consultation with business, particularly small business.
“Business owners would like nothing more than to pay all their employees more however not at the cost of the survival of their business and an increase in minimum wage at this time would effectively put some businesses in our community out of business. An increase in minimum wage at this time would be detrimental to our local economy, one that is finally experiencing some positive signs of recovery,” commented Susan Clovechok, Executive Director of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce.