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 6
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
Hog farm won’t face charges
Okanagan drives land values
Where’s the beef?
Minister defends Bill 15 changes
Back Forty: Farmers, not just farmland, need revitalization
Editorial: No peace, no order
ALR restrictions make commuting a fact of life
Johnston’s Packers targeted by activists
Sidebar: When is a crime not a crime?
Berry growers get long-awaited funding boost
Proteobiotics reduce poultry, swine infections
Greenhouse growth stymied by gas prices
Increase farm productivity with cover crops
Ag Briefs: Water fees not evenly distributed among users
Ag Briefs: BC Tree Fruits prepares to relocate
Farmland trust explored for Island
New owner, same faces
Fruit growers cautiously optimistic on bloom set
Honeycrisp key to success for Golden Apple winners
Changes to slaughter rules taking too long
Going! Going! Gone
Local meat deamnd creating opportunities
Sidebar: Compost in 14 days
Ranch takes pasture to plate at face value
Market Musings: Technology has its challenges
Oliver veggie grower prefers wholesale
Grocer offers tips to get a foot in the door
Greenhouse veggie days a hit with school
Haskap research may help berry go mainstream
Research: Bee sensitivity linked to neonic pesticides
Fraser Valley orchardist calling it a day
Worming his way to the top of the heap
Mushrooms a viable crop for small growers
Island 4-H beef show celebrates 25 years
Woodshed: Deborah starts her vacation a golf widow
Brewery’s food program spawns farm project
Jude’s Kitchen: Celebrate dads!