The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce is voicing concern about the almost seven per cent increase in the minimum wage expected June 1.
The business organization is warning about the increase which is linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). That link could mean a 6.9 per cent increase when the next legislated change is due, in June, based on a formula that uses the CPI from months earlier.
“Many businesses are paying more than the minimum wage already and don’t begrudge that. But the concern is that raising the minimum wage by so much will put even more upwards pressure on wages all along the pay scale,” says Cory Redekop, CEO of the Langley chamber. “If the minimum wage increases seven per cent, that rise will not only impact those workers, but will cascade up through other employees and wages too, fueling further inflation and creating yet another cost increase which our business community doesn’t need right now.”
The chamber, which represents 1,000 businesses in the Langleys, is lobbying for a different approach during the ‘unprecendent inflation spike’ last year because it could mean a sudden, significant jump in the minimum wage, something the Chamber says would only serve to add to cost pressures already squeezing small businesses, which have been faced with higher input and supply chain costs and increased payroll and property taxes recently.
He noted that the B.C. minimum wage is currently the highest among all provinces at $15.65, having increased $3 per hour or more than 23 per cent since 2018, and more than doubling since 2011.
The chamber would like government to recognize that the CPI has been decreasing in recent months, and make adjustments in which figures are used.
“While the CPI average the province uses sits at 6.9 per cent, we’ve already seen inflation drop below that to 6.6 per cent in December, and now 6.2 per cent in January and February. If that trend continues, by June when the minimum wage increases we could actually be looking at a much different inflation picture,” Redekop noted.
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