Questions raised over Clark’s refusal to implement $15 minimum wage in B.C.

Christy Clark`s statement last week that a $15 minimum wage would hurt small businesses was the subject of scrutiny in a story released this week in the Globe and Mail.

The article looks at the experience of SeaTac, a suburb of Seattle which implemented a $15 minimum wage applicable to certain employers in 2013. SeaTac’s mayor noted that “despite dire warnings from employers, she doesn’t know of any business that had to close or reduce planned expansions.”

Seattle also introduced plans to introduce a $15 minimum wage. The article reports that some business owners have expressed concerned about the increase but nonetheless there has been little indication that employers plan to cut jobs.

The experience of these communities is supported by recent research conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “which found almost no evidence that minimum-wage increases hurt jobs.”

“In the vast majority of cases, we found no connection whatsoever between minimum wage and the level of employment,” said Jim Stanford, an economist with Unifor who co-authored the report, which looked at data in all 10 Canadian provinces between 1980 and 2012.

Meanwhile, individuals supporting families on BC’s current minimum wage of $10.25 are struggling. Michelle Benson, a single mother with a 12-year-old son on the autism spectrum, said she was “infuriated” by the Premier’s comments. “My life is too fragile for it not to be $15,” she said.