The argument for and against the $15 an hour minimum wage in BC is spilling its way into the small business sector in Prince George.

The northern capital is home to many local restaurants who are situated in the city’s downtown core and maybe a little nervous about how the wage increase could affect their business.

One of them is Copper Pig Owner/Operator Tyler Burbee who remains on the fence about the likely wage hike.

“When the government raises wages, they collect a tax on the employees and they also collect the same tax that the employers pay, so the government is increasing the revenue significantly by going from $10 to $15 over a six-year period.”

“That affects our supply chain, our costs for almost everything that we bring to the restaurant and then our wages go up. So our three biggest costs, two of them go up by wage increases,” added Burbee.

He adds the restaurant was already feeling the pinch during the last hike to the province’s minimum wage, which rose to $11.35 in September and $10.10 to liquor servers.

“Restaurants are usually trying to fight with that 1%, that 2% if costs go up and wage increases go up we have to increase our menu prices but we definitely can’t do it by 50% over 5 years.”

The wage hike championed by the NDP government is predicted to take effect in 2021.

“I mean we know today that it is coming, I don’t know if we can do anything about that to stretch it out more or even have a say, will the customer be able to react that’s another question.”

As for the local industry’s thoughts, the response has been less than positive.

“I can only speak for our industry who I spend a lot of time with but no one is excited about this at all,” added Burbee.

The government’s Fair Wages Commission is holding an in-person consultation on the $15 minimum wage in Prince George on November 28th.

From now until December 7th, people can also submit written feedback via email at [email protected]

The consultations will give businesses, individuals and organizations a chance to schedule a presentation for the commission to see.

This is part of the Poverty Reduction efforts by the province who unveiled a 27-member Advisory Forum in Victoria, which includes Dawn Hemingway of UNBC.