The Okanagan business community is largely supportive of the minimum wage increase initiative adopted by the provincial government.
But the need for advance notice of wage increases along with reduced taxation and service costs to balance against increased labour costs are also being encouraged.
Dan Rogers, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce general manager, says significant jumps in the minimum wage always impact the bottom line.
“There is concern there but the position the chamber has taken is there needs to be full consultation so we’re not jumping into a situation that business owners haven’t had a chance to prepare for,” he said.
With a local economy driven by small business particularly in the tourism and service sectors, Rogers said labour costs are important issues for business owners.
He said the issue is complicated, as beyond paying a wage to attract workers, rental or affordable housing is another major issue that the business community needs government support to address.
The ability to retain and recruit for the local workforce has already been identified as an issue by the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, which Rogers says is about more than just higher minimum wage.
“The demographic shift in the labour fore is a huge issue across the country which is why our chamber has been heavily involved locally with immigration support groups to welcome newcomers to relocate here.”