Minimum wage increase applauded

Changes to B.C.’s minimum wage have garnered support in the North Okanagan

Changes to B.C.’s minimum wage have garnered support in the North Okanagan.

The provincial government has announced the minimum wage will be linked to the consumer price index.

“We along, with most chambers in B.C., commend the provincial government on implementing an increase to the minimum wage and also setting out a plan for future changes, giving businesses a window to plan and prepare,” said Dan Rogers, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce general manager.

“Our members are only now starting to see an improvement in the economy and any big hike would have potentially driven up operational costs that may have counteracted the positive improvements that we’ve seen in the last couple of years.”

In September, the minimum wage increases by 20 cents per hour to $10.45 per hour and piece rates in agriculture increase by two per cent (minimum piece rates are currently $15 per bin to pick apples and $.224 per pound for cherries).

“This will make the minimum wage more predictable,” said Fred Steele, B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president.

“We typically pay a premium on piece rates, and some cherry harvesters make significantly more than minimum wage. Growers pay piece rates to provide an incentive, and we recognize that means workers who perform will earn great wages.

“We appreciate and thank the contributions of our workers to the success of the agriculture sector.”

The BCFGA represents 520 commercial tree fruit growers.