Richard Truscott says small businesses can’t afford to pay their employees more. (MaxPixel)

UPDATE: Small business group says no to B.C.’s $15 minimum wage plan

‘That extra money doesn’t magically appear or disappear for small business owners.’

The hike to B.C.’s minimum wage is not good news for everyone, according to the Canadian Federation Of Independent Business.

“It would appear to be helping people, but it would do more harm than good,” said B.C. and Alberta vice-president Richard Truscott. “That extra money doesn’t magically appear or disappear for small business owners.”

The province announced on Tuesday it would be raising the minimum wage by 50 cents in September and up to $15 by 2021. The fall increase would take regular minimum wage workers to $11.35 and those who serve liquor to $10.10.

That means costs will be out-of-reach for some already-struggling businesses, according to South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce executive director Cliff Annable.

“The main business we have are the mom and pop shops,” said Annable. “And the more wages you pay, the more you have to contribute to Canadian Pension Plan and such.”

Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce president Jack Nicholson said he worries their members won’t be able to keep their businesses staffed.

“How does the government feel this will not have a negative impact on small business, in their ability to cover costs in small operations such as a corner grocer or coffee shop?” Nicholson wrote in an email. “Small businesses are not going to be able to afford to hire someone at $15 an hour with no skill.”

READ MORE: NDP to raise B.C. minimum wage by 50 cents

Truscott said a recently released University of Washington study suggested that what he called “arbitrarily raising” the minimum wage only forces smaller employers to cut back on hours, staff and reduce training programs.

“Why not hike the minimum wage to $25 or $50 and everyone will be better off?” Truscott said. “Fight for 15 makes a good election slogan or snappy chant at a campaign rally, but it’s very difficult to adjust for businesses.”

He shot back at BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger, who said after Tuesday’s announcement that it wasn’t fair to pay “poverty wages” to full-time employees.

“Let’s be clear here, these are entry-level jobs,” Truscott said. “If someone is trying to support a family, that’s not the point of a minimum-wage job.”

He said he would rather see more training programs for low-wage employees hoping to further their careers, instead of a move he thinks will “destroy” opportunities for those who are hoping to land their first job.

The latest available data from Statistics Canada suggests the two age cohorts most likely to earn minimum wage are 15- t0 19-year-olds and 35- to 64-year-olds, at 39.8 per cent and 24.8 per cent, respectively.

Truscott is asking the B.C. government to instead tie any minimum wage hikes to inflation.

“Anything beyond that, you’re going to be damaging the viability in small business to create jobs or even exist in some instances.”

For his part, Annable worries that money spent in U.S. border towns like his will simply trickle south.

“My first gut reaction is that it won’t be spent in their community,” Annable said. “In South Surrey-White Rock people go across to the States to shop.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Grey tubs for glass recycling arriving across Chilliwack

Rinse and remove all food remnants from jars and bottles before placing them in the grey bins

All-American accolades for Chilliwack Spartans swim club grad

Jessie Gibson helped SFU’s women’s team reach an all-time high at NCAA Div-II nationals.

Family-friendly heron tours planned at Chilliwack’s nature reserve

Stretch your legs as you watch the herons return to their colony, March 22 and 23

One of the biggest cow shows in Canada is coming back to the ‘Wack

Prize money totalling $240,000 is up for grabs at the spring show Friday at Chilliwack Heritage Park

Unsworth to receive $90,000 for new playground

Playground to be ready for students in the fall, says ministry of education

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Letter: Chilliwack grad says modesty doesn’t protect girls from assault

Sardis alumni was ‘catcalled, harassed, and groped by my male classmates’ despite modest clothing

‘Considerably large’ tractor tire fell and killed 3-year-old girl on B.C. farm

Delta’s deputy fire chief said crews tried to helicopter girl out after a tractor tire leaning against a barn fell onto her

VIDEO: Race and sport examined at new We Are Hockey exhibit in Abbotsford

UFV SASI hosting exhibit looking at hockey history and race

Most Read