Surrey MLA Harry Bains says higher minimum wage is better for economy

Gladys Abbott
February 11, 2018

"Predictability and certainty allows businesses to plan and ensure they are prepared for these changes".

"We believe that we have strong economic growth in British Columbia and the commission's rationale for front-end loading the increases was because we have a robust economy in British Columbia and the expectation is that's going to continue for the next two years", Horgan said.

"I am glad that a key recommendation of the report is to establish a permanent commission to keep politics out of minimum wage discussions, and I strongly urge the government to commit to this recommendation".

Labour leaders are being pressured by some of their members to bargain for wage increases, similar to those that went to workers making minimum wage.

The province estimated the increases will impact approximately 94,000 workers.

Commenting on the plight of minimum wage workers he said: "They shouldn't have to rely on foodbanks". "We are disappointed in the timeline".

"But making 500,000 low-paid workers who now make less than $15 wait until June 1, 2021, to climb above poverty wage rates is not fair", Ms. Lanzinger said. "The way to start down the right path is to find a way to lift people out of poverty".

The NDP government's plan is an improvement, however, on the previous government's plan to raise the minimum wage at the pace of inflation, which would have delayed reaching $15 an hour until around 2032, Lanzinger said.

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The living wage - an hourly wage for an adequate quality of life - in Victoria is $20.01 an hour, according to a 2017 report by the Community Social Planning Council of Great Victoria.

Lanzinger said that fear-mongering about how raising the minimum wage will affect businesses doesn't play out in reality.

"It's long overdue that British Columbia workers be on the same pay scale as workers in other provinces like Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec".

"It's a big step to see the increases front loaded", she said, noting that by June 2019 the minimum wage will be $2.50 higher than it is today and close to $14 an hour.

"All these things combined with minimum wage increases are going to help the working poor", she said.

More than 20 per cent of all workers in B.C. earn less than $15 per hour. The party made its first move toward that goal in September, when the wage rose from $10.85 to $11.35.

The BC Federation of Labour claims 80 per cent of British Columbians who make less than $15 per hour are adults and one in seven holds a post-secondary degree. Next week's throne speech will talk about other measures, including child care and housing affordability, he said.

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