Our View: Stimulate the economy

To attract workers, who become residents of Rossland, we need to increase minimum wages to remain competitive.

Shirley Bond, minister for jobs, tourism, skills training and minister of labour, last week announced that the government is indexing increases for the minimum hourly wage and liquor server wage to BC’s Consumer Price Index (CPI).

To attract workers, who become residents of Rossland, we need to increase minimum wages to remain competitive. This will align Rossland with other areas of Canada and as a result, ensure new residents are not de-motivated by high living costs compared to wages. These low-income earners deserve to be able to support their families as other consumer prices rise.

Yes, the majority of our businesses here in town are small and they will initially feel the pinch when the increase takes effect in September. We also need to remember this wage increase is aligned to CPI. We have to look at this increase’s impact on the broader economy.

Minimum wage increase studies show evidence that increasing the minimum wage has little or no negative effect on employment of minimum wage workers and it also has potential to stimulate the economy. In most cases, the increase will translate to spending on household items and groceries.

With the percentage increase being aligned to CPI it also gives businesses a predictable formula they can work with. It is important to recognize that it is only when the economy is experiencing growth that wages will increase.

Businesses of Rossland should not view this as a negative but understand the importance of this announcement to the people they employ and that they will still have access to some of the best people in the labour pool, as workers are not put off moving here.