Published On: Monday, 19 September 2016

BC Restaurateurs Struggling with Minimum Wage Hikes

BC Restaurateurs Struggling with Minimum Wage Hikes
(Photo Credit: Restaurants Canada)

BC - Restaurants Canada has criticized the BC government for allegedly gone back on its 2015 commitment to link future minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index – the recent 3.8& hike is more than twice the rate of inflation.

"We asked the government to leave the politics aside and tie increases to objective economic indicators for a more predictable business environment," said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada's Vice President, Western Canada. "Restaurateurs support their entry-level staff's wages keeping up with the cost of living, but are tired of minimum wage being thrown around like a political football. The result is arbitrary increases that are not backed up by any objective economic rationale."

The organization represents a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. British Columbia's restaurant industry directly employs 172,00 British Columbians and has total annual sales of $12 billion.

As the province's general minimum wage and liquor server wage increased by 40 cents from $10.45 to $10.85, and $9.20 to $9.60, respectively. Next September, the minimum wage will climb another 40 cents from $10.85 to $11.25. The liquor server wage, which recognizes the significant income servers earn from tips, will also rise by the same amount, from $9.60 to $10, in 2017.

While the 2016 minimum wage increase is higher than expected, there is minimum wage certainty for 2017. The minimum wage announcement earlier this year also included $2.88 million in targeted new job training supports and a one per cent reduction in the small business tax rate from 2.5% to 1.5% for 2017, which will offer some relief to restaurant businesses.