January 23, 2019
by PETER MITHAM
Just weeks into the new year, BC farmers may be starting to feel the pinch.
One thing’s for certain: their pennies won’t.
Various government policies designed to part farmers and their money have kicked in, raising the cost of doing business in BC.
Piece rates increased on January 1, six months after an increase to the hourly minimum wage. The delay was the result of a recommendation by the BC Fair Wages Commission, which didn’t want to inconvenience farmers mid-season. (Details are available here.)
A further increase on June 1, 2019 will coincide with the next increase in the province’s minimum wage, and aims to ensure all workers in the province receive the same wage regardless of employment.
Phasing out piece rates could follow a report that Karen Taylor, an adjunct professor in food and resource economics at UBC and an agriculture relationship manager with TD Bank in Langley, was asked to submit to the Fair Wage Commission by December 31.
The new Employer Health Tax also kicked in this month. It is a payroll tax that employers pay during the phasing out of Medical Services Plan premiums, which will occur January 1, 2020. It shifts the burden of medical premiums from individuals to businesses, and will garner $1.9 billion province wide this year. The impact is significant enough that municipalities such as Vancouver have increased property taxes to cover the effects.
The effects could chill investment in BC’s farm sector, says Reg Ens, executive director of the BC Agriculture Council.
“They’re not convinced that this government is on their side,” he said.
Vol. 105 Issue 4
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
One province, one panel
Groundwater deadline extended
Happy as a pig!
Sidebar: Still waiting
Feds pour millions into tree fruit research
Sidebar: Will local procurement help?>
Editorial: Confined spaces
Back Forty: BC farmers need more than a land bank
Island Good campaign drives local sales
Poultry industry seeks to stop infighting
Egg farmers to receive biggest quota boost ever
New entrant focus
Decision day looms for chicken pricing appeal
Producers look to CanadaGAP for certification
Organic sector undertakes core review
Hopping to it!
Island couple named Outstanding Young Farmers
Turkey consumption continues to decline
BC potato growers enjoy a strong footing
Sudden tree fruit dieback a growing concern
Late season BC cherries in global demand
Farmers’ markets aim to be local food hubs
Field trial hopes to reduce phosphorus levels
Future looking bright for BC dairy producers
BC could benefit from US trade battles
Saputo puts its Courtenay plant out to pasture
The land of milk and salmon
Sidebar: Farming for the future
Out of the hands of BC farmers
Codes of practice need producer input
Preparation essential for wildfire response
Sidebar: Relief announced for drought, fire
Sidebar: Be FireSmart with these tips
New traceability regs to track movement
Agriculture a notable threat to species at risk
Improper pesticide use threatens access
Threat to neonics spurs scare in spud growers
Orchard presses forward with diversification
Staying on top of soil health is key to sound farming
No small potatoes
Farm families need to have affairs in order
Rotary parlours go upscale at two FV dairies
Study compares organic, conventional diets
Advisory service foresees growing demand
Sidebar: Tree fruit cutbacks a concern
Island dairy producers hone first aid skills
Woodshed: And that’s how rumours get their teeth
Research farm showcases small projects
Jude’s Kitchen: Shooting stars of spring