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EDITORIAL: Minimum wage increase will not offset inflation

Rising costs are affecting households throughout British Columbia
The cost of hiring staff will increase on June 1 as British Columbia’s minimum wage rises to $16.75 an hour. (Black Press file photo)

British Columbia’s economic landscape could change as the province’s minimum wage is set to rise on June 1.

The wage will increase to $16.75 an hour, a 6.9 per cent increase from the present minimum wage of $15.65 an hour.

This addresses the rising cost of living in this province and was done to ensure those who are earning low wages are not left behind, Minister of Labour Harry Bains said.

The last time the province’s minimum wage increased was on June 1, 2022. That increase, at 2.8 per cent, did not have the same shock value as the announcement of the coming increase.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s minimum wage going up by $1.10 to $16.75 on June 1

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A higher wage will welcome news for workers, especially those in low-paying jobs. At the same time, the wage increase will not provide workers with a sudden influx of cash.

The most recent provincial statistics, from February, showed British Columbia had an inflation rate of 6.2 per cent from one year earlier.

Food costs rose by 9.8 per cent, shelter costs were 6.5 per cent higher and transportation costs increased by 5.9 per cent.

Some households in the province, and each community, are running on extremely lean budgets in order to deal with rising costs.

Wages need to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

At the same time, inflation does not just affect individuals and families. Businesses, especially small businesses with low-profit margins, also feel the pinch.

Rising costs for supplies, transportation, utilities and other expenses are all increasing.

The minimum wage increase is another factor which must be considered.

Agriculture and the hospitality and tourism sector, mainstays in many parts of this province, will both feel the effects of the wage increase, especially as these industries are already coping with other cost increases.

In the coming months, both these sectors will be increasing hiring as they are entering their busy seasons.

The minimum wage increase will provide some much-needed relief for individuals and families struggling with rising costs, but the increase alone will not curb or control inflation.

— Black Press

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