BC farmers will see higher costs this month as several new measures take effect.
June 1 saw the minimum wage increase to $13.85 an hour as part of provincial efforts to raise the rate to $15.20 an hour by 2021. While the province is holding the line on piece rates, the increase to the minimum wage raises the floor for all other wages.
This wage increase will be followed on June 15 by the first payment of the new employer health tax (EHT) as the province phases out Medical Service Plan premiums. The tax will see employers pay upwards of $2 billion to cover the health care costs of workers. However, the levy won’t cover the medical needs of the seasonal workers farm businesses employ.
The end of the month will also bring the deadline for remitting property taxes, technically due July 2. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, double-digit increases have not been unusual over the past year.
The total impact on farm employers of the new charges is tough to calculate, but that doesn’t mean the impact isn’t real.
To fight back, many farm businesses are seeking ways to automate their operations. Others are shifting to less labour-intensive products.