Minimum wage debate

Hello Houstonites. Ann Marie Hak is enjoying a two-week vacation.

Few topics are as controversial right now in Canada as raising the minimum wage.

Last week the B.C. government announced a 50-cent increase starting next month. The NDP says this was the first move toward the goal of reaching a $15-an-hour minimum wage by 2021. Meanwhile Alberta and Ontario plan to reach the $15 mark by 2018.

The argument of those who agree with the minimum wage increase is that it would not only be beneficial for low-income earners, but it would also be good for the overall economy. The logic is that when low-income earners receive a wage increase, they tend to spend it all on everyday necessities – and this, in turn, would positively impact the economy.

Meanwhile others argue that raising the minimum wage would hurt small businesses, which would then have to offset their increased expenses by reducing hours and laying off employees. This would then hurt low-income workers, who this initiative was intended to help, while at the same time hurting the overall economy.

The B.C. government claims that a minimum wage increase will benefit close to 100,000 British Columbians. But while raising the minimum wage might seem like a good idea to lift people out of poverty, it’s important to know who exactly is included in this demographic.

In 2016, the percentage of employees earning minimum wage in British Columbia was 4.8 per cent, or 93,800 people. Of this total, the large majority (54 per cent) were youth aged 15 to 24 years old. This means that a large portion of low-income earners in Canada are teenagers who are still living with their parents and therefore don’t depend on their income for survival.

This raises the question of whether raising the minimum wage would be the best way to lift people (who really need it) out of poverty. After all, there are other ways to lift people out of poverty. Canada could use its tax system to redistribute wealth, and many defend the idea of a guaranteed basic income.

Last month 40 Canadian economists wrote an open letter to the Ontario premier endorsing the proposed minimum wage increase. Meanwhile 20 Canadian studies published in academic journals dating back to 1979 produced a clear consensus – that minimum wage hikes reduce employment opportunities.

Just Posted

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

Convicted animal abuser Catherine Adams to return to B.C. court in July

Catherine Adams is under a 20-year ban on owning animals, from a 2015 sentence in Smithers

Good job boys

Oakley (L) and Storm sold lemonade in Houston to raise money to… Continue reading

The north, rural areas deserve own ICBC rates, says Houston council

Matter to be considered at provincial convention this fall

Houston get more initial attack crews

The BC Wildfire Service branches in Houston and Burns Lake are preparing… Continue reading

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Nisga’a Nation tourism industry hits the road

First pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Most Read