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 2
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
ALR committee files report
Cannabis drives drop in Delta farm assessments
Editorial: Party and province
Back Forty: You can’t get apps on that
Viewpoint: Annual assessments a chance to take stock
Preliminary hearing in high-profile poultry abuse
Survey keeps national park reserve in spotlight
Political engagement headlines dairy meeting
World milk prices take blame for shifting returns
Patience is a virtue
Ag Briefs: Sasaki appointed new head of chicken board
Ag Briefs: Ottawa invests in dairy sector
AB: Piece rates, taxes increase
AB: AITC focuses on growth
Letters: Protect farmland from cannabis production
Letters: Dog owners need to accept responsibility
Letters: The beef about climate change
Cadillac’ of aviaries will reduce labour costs
Berry growers face new import requirements
Open house reveals secrets of diagnostics lab
Cannabis propagation industry sprouting in BC
Sidebar: Deep roots
FCC targets women with new business program
Agreement sets stage for fish farm phase-out
Grazing, forage and water top list at town hall
Ranchers reassured regarding bovine TB cases
Digging into soil nutrition at education day
Science of cannabis takes centre stage
Blueberry growers hone use of box liners
Ostrich industry takes flight with big plans
Tunnels boost fruit quality, add to berry season
Big bucks being spent to protect bee health
Sidebar: Province boosts funding
Mystery bee disease studied
Direct-marketing opportunities have potential
Research: Preventing soft scald in apples
Regional food system is the new focus of group’s efforts
Wannabe: Growers deserve our love
Woodshed: A performance Kenneth can’t afford to miss
Jude’s Kitchen: Happy new year, my sweet Valentine