April 5th, 2023
RICHMOND, B.C. — On Wednesday, April 5th, Minister of Labour, Harry Bains announced an increase to the minimum wage of 6.9% beginning June 1, 2023. The minimum wage for all workers in BC will be increased to $16.75 per hour, from $15.65 per hour.
The Richmond Chamber of Commerce understands the provincial government’s efforts to keep up with the rising cost of living but urges the Province to provide a corresponding offset for businesses in navigating this increase in labour costs.
“A 6.9% increase to labour costs is a large burden with less than 60 days notice. Most employers I speak to are in favour of regular increases to the minimum wage, but more time and a graduated approach would help them adjust accordingly” said Shaena Furlong, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.
Furlong emphasizes the challenge this sudden and significant minimum wage increase presents to local employers. “Many employers consider it important to set their base pay above the mandated minimum wage and will be adjusting their own pay scales accordingly to stay competitive in this tight labour market. Furthermore, for some businesses, this increase may put them over the threshold for the Employers Health Tax, meaning additional costs.”
In recent years, provincial legislation has created higher than usual operating cost increases for employers - the Employer Healthcare Tax, new statutory holidays, new sick pay legislation and in many jurisdictions, rising property taxes. This layering of business costs is making it harder for local businesses to survive.
“When we aggressively layer costs onto employers, we don’t only risk losing their tax contribution, but also the local jobs they create, and the vibrancy they add to our communities” said Furlong. “In Metro Vancouver, most of us know someone who moved out of the region or the province because they realized they could get more for less elsewhere. Unfortunately, at some point businesses make that same calculation. We urge the province to not only provide more notice for updates to the minimum wage but also offset these added costs through any means at their disposal.”
The Richmond Chamber of Commerce is a broad-based non-profit membership association, celebrating over 90 years of commitment to make Richmond the most prosperous and favourable place to do business.
Communications & Policy Coordinator
Richmond Chamber of Commerce
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