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Minimum wage B.C: As B.C. again increases minimum wage, who are the winners ...

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Published Time: 01.06.2024 - 06:13:24 Modified Time: 01.06.2024 - 06:13:24

Mandated wage increases could eventually make it harder for low-skilled workers to find jobs, particularly as they come on the heels of other government measures like the carbon tax and short-term rental bans that could drive es out of the province. Minimum wage B.C


B.C.’s minimum wage is set to increase again on Saturday, reigniting what has become an annual debate who gains and who loses when labour costs rise — a subject even economists don’t agree upon.

While some say that isn’t enough for a province where many spend half their income on housing, others claim it will harm es and consumers. There’s a lack of consensus among experts, too.

Simon Fraser University professor Andrey Pavlov said economists are generally “not thrilled” cost increases because they weaken demand. When wages rise, es might cut jobs, start to rely on technology instead of workers, or look at relocating to a place where labour is cheaper.

All of that can hurt the province’s lowest earners, making minimum wage increases “very counterproductive,” said the professor at the Beedie School of .

Mandated wage increases could eventually make it harder for low-skilled workers to find jobs, particularly as they come on the heels of other government measures like the carbon tax and short-term rental bans that could drive es out of the province.

Pavlov said he supports the idea of a living wage, but he sees a “disagreement on how to get there.” He favours creating an environment for to thrive, thereby increasing demand for labour and higher wages in turn.

Other experts believe lifting more out of poverty benefits everyone. Almost a decade ago, University of B.C. economics professor David Green published an article debunking claims that increases at that time would lead to “massive job losses.”

While many pictured teenagers living with their parents as the beneficiaries of minimum-wage hikes, he said the majority of those impacted were women older than 20 who worked full-time for large corporations.

An analysis released this week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a group that advocates for a living wage, found the same to be true. Using Statistics Canada data, researchers determined half of the racialized women working in Metro Vancouver earned less than the region’s living wage of $25.68 per hour in 2023, while 413,100 workers across the province earned less than $20 an hour — 18 per cent of all paid employees.

The group defines a living wage as the hourly rate that full-time workers need to support a family.

But Richmond restaurant owner David Chung said the issue is more complex. If es pass on costs to consumers, as he might have to do, it hurts everyone, including who hold minimum-wage jobs.

The president of the B.C. Asian Restaurant Cafe Owners Association said he expects to see job losses and restaurants closing.

“It’s going to happen with the way things are going.”

After B.C.’s minimum wage increased by seven per cent last year, Chung said he was forced to raise prices at his restaurant, Jade Seafood. But he noticed customers continued to spend the same amount on a meal — $100 — although they ate less or ordered differently.

“Tips go up again and again. And then food, too. How much more can take?” he asked.

B.C.’s minimum wage increase will force Jimmy Tham to consider a tough question: How much can he raise the price of tutoring services before parents can’t afford it anymore?

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