When did $15 become the magic number for minimum wage?
B.C. went above and beyond, and to one-up the other provinces, Premier Horgan slapped on another $0.20 to be the province with the highest minimum wage by 2021.
Back to $15 an hour though. If the living wage is $20.62 in Vancouver and $18.17 in Terrace, why is $15.20 the base wage we’re striving for?
In the government’s poverty forum, participants said, “There’s not enough jobs with wages that can cover rent.”
The average rent has increased by $132 in Prince Rupert where the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $812 and a two-bedroom is $913. You’re telling us, that a single-mother or father working 35 hours a week at a $15.20 minimum wage is going to be able to afford over $900 for rent and heating, while feeding the kids? Maybe, but that won’t happen until 2021. If rent keeps going up by $130-plus increments then no, it won’t be enough.
But the disturbing reality is what some Rupert business owners are facing. Sure, Horgan said his government will remove PST on electricty for businesses and medical service premiums for employees will be cut in half, but some Rupert business owners are still nervous.
Small business owners are already considering how they will stomach the gradual increases — the first hike will be in June up to $12.65 an hour. Some businesses want to avoid charging the customer more but this may come at the cost of layoffs.