Only last year, the B.C. Government made a commitment to remove politics from the minimum wage increase and to improve predictability so that business could budget its own payroll expenses to live within its means. The Government of British Columbia has broken its commitment to the retail community by announcing a rate increase above CPI for this fall and by failing to provide certainty as to the minimum wage rate increase in 2017.
Retailers that will be most impacted are small merchants and those with a disproportionate number of employees who are new to the work force. This impact will be felt by employees whose hours or positions are cut in an effort by businesses to live within their own budgets.
The retail industry continues to support revisions based upon objective criteria which removes politics from the equation. Instead, government has made an arbitrary decision based upon the politics of the day. As government is aware, business requires predictability; it is critical for business to properly forecast expenditures and minimum wage decisions are best announced ahead of the preparation of financial plans for the year.
The retail industry is British Columbia’s largest private sector employer, employing nearly 300,000 British Columbians. Retail is pleased to be a beneficiary of British Columbia’s strong economy and proud to play its part through its contributions to communities across the province.
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Retail is Canada’s largest employer with over 2 million Canadians working in our industry. In 2015, the sector generated payroll over $59 billion and $340 billion in sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline). Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members’ represent more than two-thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit industry-funded association and represents small, medium and large retail business in every community across the country. As the Voice of Canadian retailers we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants.