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October 27, 2017 3:58 pm

Fair Wage Commission to Be Established

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 5:58 AM

Prince George, B.C. – In addition to announcing  the implementation of a 50 cent an hour boost to the minimum wage  as of Sept. 15th, Provincial Minister of Labour Harry Bains says a Fair Wages Commission is being established.

Bains says the terms of reference  and who will be on the  commission  have  yet to be decided,  but he believes it will be tasked with “setting the pathway to a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage.”

Even if the minimum wage  reaches the NDP promised target of $15 dollars an hour  in four years,  that may  still be well behind what  the “living wage” is for many communities in B.C.

The living wage is how much a person needs to bring home based on the actual costs of living in a specific community.  The Living Wage varies  from community to community,  for example, in Prince George,  the current living wage is pegged at $16.39 an hour.  In Vancouver  that amount is  $20.62 an hour.  Here is the living wage in  other communities:

  • Kamloops   $16.90
  • Northeast ( Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd)  $18.29 per hour
  • Terrace:      $18.17
  • Williams Lake:  $15.77

Bains says the Fair Wages Commission  will  also look at “How could we  find some strategies to deal with the discrepancies between the  minimum wage and the living wage?”

While  the  minimum wage hike  may  not meet the  living wage,  Bains says  the NDP are doing other things to reduce the cost of living, such as  eliminating bridge tolls, eliminating MSP premiums, freezing  hydro rates  and  creating new child care spaces.

The Commission will be expected to  present its first report  within 90 days of its first meeting.

Further details on the Commission will be  announced in the next few weeks


One of the ‘terms of reference’ should be to study why the totality of costs flowing through into prices at the point of final retail can currently never be met by the totality of incomes distributed in any one and the same fiscal period.

There is an ever increasing ‘gap’ between the rate of price generation, in total, of all the things we are making to consume, and the rate that incomes, again in total, are being distributed to purchase them.

Currently that ‘gap’ is bridged by exponentially expanding debt, and an effort on the part of every industrialised country to export more than it imports and receive foreign credit convertible into its own currency to help cover the difference. It is impossible for this latter to ever be sustainable, and to continually incur debt that can never be repaid increasingly results in an increase in unaffordability of ever more of the very products of which we’re constantly trying to increase their production and sale. Inflation robs of us of our purchasing power faster than any wage increases can ever hope to cover.

    You will have to simplify that even more , so politicians can understand it!

      I know, Cougs79. And even if I did, and they couldn’t help but understand it, they wouldn’t do it. So I’ll make a more simple suggestion. Pay whomever is chosen as members of this new Commission no more than minimum wage. Because whatever their findings are going to be, unless they’re willing to follow my original suggestion, even that is more than they’re worth.

      I think the easiest way fro socredible can simplify it is by letting us know which country in the world has adopted the hypothesis.

      I have given up asking him the question because he never responds.

    gopg2015, I believe I have answered this several time before, but in case it’s been missed by you, NO COUNTRY has “adopted the hypothesis”.

    That doesn’t make it a wrong hypothesis. For at one time NO COUNTRY in what was then the western world (Europe) believed the Earth was round like a globe, and not flat like a pancake.

    Furthermore, NO COUNTRY in that area, at that time, believed that the Earth WASN’T the centre of the universe, and the Sun and all the other celestial bodies revolved around it. If one expressed a different belief, at that time, you’d be branded as a heretic, and might even be burned at the stake! But that still didn’t make so what wasn’t so, did it? Eventually, we found that things weren’t quite as was once universally believed, and went forward from there. It would be nice if Canada, or even BC, were the first to look where no one has yet looked, and solved the paradox of ‘poverty in the midst of plenty’. I won’t hold my breath that we’ll be smart enough to study this, for I seriously doubt we are. But who knows…?

Bains says the NDP are doing other things to reduce the cost of living, such as eliminating bridge tolls, eliminating MSP premiums, freezing hydro rates and creating new child care spaces.


Someone has to pay for the new lower mainland bridges, the health care system is not going to fund itself, hydro costs will not remain static and child care spaces are not free.

Who’s going to foot the bill for all this? Yes, we need a better system then the current MSP one (I vote for user fees!) but the system still needs the money! Are Hydro employees going to accept a wage freeze? Are we going to start getting Quebec style transfer payments to cover 10 dollar a day child care?

I’m tapped out.

    We’re all ‘tapped out’, axman. And no wonder. We only ever see the ‘liabilities’ side of the ledger (if one were actually kept for government, in the same manner that every business is required to keep its books). Never the contra entry for ‘assets’. Nor any way of calculating just what increase in our ability to actually do things, and do them more efficiently, those ‘assets’ engender.

    In a private business this would be represented by ‘profit’. Which is really a meaningless figure, in itself, since all business profit isn’t the difference between revenue and expenditure, but rather an amount that is finalised on the firm’s Balance Sheet as an increase in Assets over Liabilities.

    Governments are not supposed to be in business ‘for profit’, but still the construction of many government provided assets does result in a greater amount of Capital APPRECIATION than is being incurred in the same time as Capital Depreciation. It has to, or we would never be able to physically progress.

    So why not change the accounting? To make it properly REFLECT reality. We might find that with good governance we could be getting a ‘dividend’ FROM government, rather than continually paying over and over for things already paid for.

      “Never the contra entry for ‘assets’.”

      In a business, the assets are based on the cost of creating the asset and the depreciation, over time, is based on the estimated value for which the asset could be sold.

      Basically, the public assets cannot be sold except in a PPP type of agreement.

      If there is to be any real increase in assets, one would have to set aside funds to compensate for the depreciation of the asset to cover its future maintenance and replacement costs.

      I do not see a dividend. One cannot create value from nothing.

      You don’t see a dividend because you don’t understand accounting. That much is clear from what you’ve written above.
      Business accounting is conducted on an accrual basis using the Balance Sheet principle. Assets = Liabilities + Capital.

      Governments, however, though they are also a ‘business’ in the sense that they both directly and indirectly provide us with some goods and many services apart from their functions in the executive, legislative and judicial areas, do not do their accounting the same way.

      They work from a Budget, which is always supposed to be ‘balanced’. Which is the first fallacy, since if every government budget were always balanced (from taxation alone), it would mean the progress of the country was exactly stationary so far as things provided by government are concerned. We’d be ‘consuming’ all our production, including all our capital production, at exactly the same rate we were ‘producing’ it. And this is NEVER the case.

      In government accounting, the equivalent of the Capital account in business accounting is currently the National Debt. This is something that should be changed.

    The Liberals stated years ago that they made the decision to leave MSP premiums in place and rather have us pay the lowest provincial income taxes in Canada instead. So one can expect that income taxes will go up enough to make up for the elimination of MSP premiums. Are top employees at Hydro going to accept a salary reduction or freeze? How about others at BC Ferries and ICBC?
    There are far too many who make in one year more than what a person on minimum wage makes in a lifetime!

      Maybe all our civil servants should be taking a pay cut to help pay for this.

      Axman give your head a shame. You to think that civic employees should serve you on bended knee. There are many employees in the private sector that are no more just leaches living off the profit of their employer.

      At least you used “there” and “their” correctly.

Just borrow more money… it is working for Alberta, who needs a triple A credit rating anyway. Just using liabilities all you have to do is add. Much simpler for NDP, subtracting is complicated.

I propose to build a factory a 100 kms from here in the middle of nowhere to manufacture cheap consumer goods like China does. It will be walled in, I will provide my employees with board and lodging, basic health and dental care, and if they don’t like the job, I will transport them anywhere in the world. They will work 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, and get paid nothing. Since no Canadian will take the job, I will use women and children from Africa who are in imminent danger of starvation. What a win win win. I win – profits, they win – don’t starve, Prince George wins supplying my factory.

If someone hasn’t noticed – this is the slavery model of economics. And we’ve all pretty much agreed that’s immoral on every level. And yet, to the person in danger of imminent starvation, it’s a viable alternative.

My point is, we already have determined that not all businesses deserve to survive.

McDonald’s took advantage of an abundant source of cheap teenage labor during the baby boom. Many followed suit. That workforce is no longer abundant.

So my proposal is simple – raise the minimum wage to the living wage. Those businesses who can survive through reduced profits, increased prices, and automation will. Those who can’t, like my slave factory, have no right to exist.

Many people will end up making a living wage, some will end up on welfare, which we will have to increase as they will become economically unemployable.

Unless I’ve missed something, this is the most probable outcome. So either we accept some will be paid less than a living wage and have a job, or, living wage becomes the standard and some just will never be able to work without government subsidy or will rely solely on government support.

    Couple that with the fact that automation is going to displace thousands of workers in the next few devades. Will the living wage be paid in perpetuity to those who cannot find work due to this?

    It might be time for corporations to figure out a way to be profitable and employ people rather than robots.

      They’ve already figured that out. Problem is, the government is interfering and screwing things up, so they’ll turn to robots if the economics so dictate.

Weaver had issues with the way that the NDP went about putting in place their grizzly bear trophy hunting ban.

Now Weaver also has issues with the NDP’s new Fair Wage Commission!

If Weaver keeps having issues with what the NDP is doing and how they are going about doing it, how much longer until Horgan loses his temper and throws a hissy fit?

ht tps://energeticcity.ca/2017/08/weaver-concerned-about-fair-wage-commissions-timeline/

    Probably another 3 to 4 years, I suspect, when the next election is due.

    Why rightists get so snarky about Weaver representing his own party’s policies which differ from those of the NDP mystifies me. He (and Horgan) made it clear that the agreement between the Greens and the NDP was only about not bringing down the government by a non confidence vote. It had nothing to do with amalgamating philosophies, policies or anything else, unless they overlapped naturally. All Weaver is doing is being a Green. My suggestion is that right wingers stop flapping their right wings and going in ever decreasing circles and accept that the NDP and Greens are still separate parties and have distinct policies. It’s almost as if right wingers think wishful thinking causes some sort of reality shift. It does not!

      Gee ammonra, you sound exactly like a holier than thou “snarky” leftist!

      Oh say it isn’t so!

      Gee, ammonra, what kind of a partner is a party which votes in favor of legislation to which it is in reality opposed? The Green Party is willing to compromise and sacrifice its credibility with voters just for the sake of keeping the NDP in power? How weird can politics become? If the Liberals had made that kind of pact with the Greens you would be all over them with scathing condemnation!

      My suggestion is that left wingers stop flapping their left wings and going in ever decreasing circles …… ;-)

      I realized that as I posted that, that when one flaps their left wings, they turn right …..

      And when one flaps their right wings, they turn left ….. LOL

      Actually, even if you flap both wings, or use both feet, you tend to drift due to dominance of one appendage. The only solution, is to pick a point in the distance, and focus on it. Just don’t focus on a point that happens to be moving – like a politician’s promises – of any party.

      That said, it didn’t get much play in the news, but Carol James told Victoria that 400 million is a bit steep for the Commonwealth Games and that money could be better spent on things like child poverty and recovering from the fires. Refreshing to see a politician realize these mega sporting events are money losers and really only provide photo ops.

      If the NDP have a plan to concentrate on the must haves, rather than, would like to haves, I think they got a shot at more than 18 months.

      I don’t know that I’m any holier than thou art, Hart Guy, but clearly my snark index is left standing compared to thine.

      “what kind of a partner is a party which votes in favor of legislation to which it is in reality opposed”.

      I did not actually say the Greens will do that. Perhaps you just assumed or imagined it. Notice that little clause I included, “unless they overlapped naturally.” Most parties have some overlap, more or less. That is obviously more in the case of Greens and NDP, so both can be true to themselves.

      “when one flaps their right wings, they turn left.”

      I didn’t realise my metaphor was so apt. Just think about the Liberals’ last Throne speech!

      ammonra:”Most parties have some overlap, more or less. That is obviously more in the case of Greens and NDP, so both can be true to themselves.”

      You are discounting the possibility that an occasion will arise when there is no overlap, in fact, that there will never be a conflict! Being “true to themselves” would require that the Greens practice truthfulness and refuse the support something that they can in all truthfulness not go along with, without compromising their ideology! “Some overlap” means that there are significant differences, otherwise voters would not have voted Green instead of NDP. The marriage of convenience was a shotgun wedding, the shotgun being an insatiable desire for power.

      Clearly the Greens were not motivated by a desire for power because they have very little. Neither does the NDP. It is, after all, a minority government. Shotgun? The agreement between the Greens and NDP was not coerced in any way but was voluntary and has given us a new and improved governance in BC after the 16 years of lies and corruption from the Liberals, and thanks to Christie, it is a little more secure now than it was.

      There is, of course, always a minuscule possibility of some disagreement that might be a potential cause of a dispute bad enough to end the agreement, but I doubt that very much. Weaver has promised that confidence votes will succeed even if they vote against the government in non-confidence votes. In practical terms, there is enough agreement to keep them occupied for the next four years undoing the excesses of our previous lackeys. I repeat, your wishful thinking does not cause a reality shift. This government is going to serve out its term. Get used to it.

Part of the problem with wages and business is that robots for example are considered to be an asset, while a person doing the same job is considered to be a liability.

So companies get more robots and get rid of more people. Seems to me if we showed employee’s on the books as being assets with a value of say $100,000.00 per year and up we could change the whole concept.

    While some employees are definitely assets, others are definitely liabilities!

    This is never more evident than in a “union” shop!

      when we turn to robotics H.G. where is the tax base money going to come from?? Not the union worker nor the non- union worker because their all unemployed on the dole and we are supporting them whether we like it or not. Now govt. says hey we need an increase in our tax base to provide all of us with the amenities we so desire and guess what…because business has gone robotics and is saving on labor the govt. of the day decides that business has more disposable income and THATS where the money will come from…you…you turkey because everyone else is unemployed!! Think about it.

      How would you know?

      oldman1, how would I know? Because long ago, I actually worked in a unionized workplace for a relatively short period of time! That was waaaay back when I first finished my post-secondary studies.

      I didn’t stay long as I had no patience for coworkers who’s best attribute was their ability to look busy while doing virtually nothing! The fact that they received the same pay as I did, even though I worked harder also had some bearing on my decision to leave a union job. On top of that, when raises were given, they got the same raise as I did, again even though some coworkers should have been canned instead of being rewarded with a undeserved raise!

      oldman1, how would I know? Because I’ve seen both sides of the fence, that’s how I would know!

    The company can own the robot, it can’t own the employee. The company can invest significant cash in an employee, and still not record it as an asset because the employee is essentially free to leave at any time with the knowledge they acquired.

    Employees though, are a 100% tax write off. Pay them $100,000.00, get to deduct $100,000.00, which saves you about $25,000.00 in corporate taxes.

    Buy a robot for $100,000, get to write it off over 10 years and get the tax relief over 10 years. So the tax system is predisposed to making employees more attractive.

    An employee is not considered a liability. They show up nowhere on the liability section of the balance sheet. The only liability that shows up, is unpaid wages, pension obligations, source deductions, benefits owing etc. So, amounts owed to employees and benefit providers show up, and usually those amounts are paid within a 30 day period – except pension obligations, that can be deferred for some strange reason.

      Employees though, are a 100% tax write off. Pay them $100,000.00, get to deduct $100,000.00, which saves you about $25,000.00 in corporate taxes.

      Buy a robot for $100,000, get to write it off over 10 years and get the tax relief over 10 years. So the tax system is predisposed to making employees more attractive.


      Not really. The tax system is basically just mirroring what happens under generally accepted accounting principles where the cost of capital equipment is expensed over its useful life. This is done to try and match the expenses of a specific period to the revenues earned in that same period.

      With employees, costs are typically attributable to a single reporting period (they aren’t capital), so that’s why they are expensed in the year.

      From time to time, the government will make changes to the rules around depreciation for tax purposes in order to encourage investment in capital equipment or stuff like that. An example would be rules to allow for more accelerated rates of depreciation as compared to normal.

      Tax treatment doesn’t always follow accounting convention. In fact, it’s quite often different.

    Palopu wrote:-“Part of the problem with wages and business is that robots for example are considered to be an asset, while a person doing the same job is considered to be a liability.

    So companies get more robots and get rid of more people. Seems to me if we showed employee’s on the books as being assets with a value of say $100,000.00 per year and up we could change the whole concept.”

    You couldn’t do that in any individual business, but you certainly could do it if you had a Balance Sheet that encompassed the Nation as a whole. People could be capitalised as Assets in that instance, because they are part of the REAL Credit of that nation, (a correct estimate of its actual ability to produce and deliver goods and services as, when, and where required.)

    Part of our problem is we regard ’employment’, which is a mere means to an end, as an end in itself. We shouldn’t be ‘producing’ simply so someone can have a job. We should be ‘producing because there’s a very real consumer demand for needed and desired goods and services. And anything that enables us to fill that demand more efficiently, i.e. with LESS overall labor input relative to overall product output, is what we should be aiming for. To achieve what we are more than physically capable of, we need to base income distribution on something other than mainly wages and salaries. That ‘something’ is accounting for the total amount overall capital APPRECIATION exceeds overall capital Depreciation in any chosen successive fiscal periods.

Hopefully the Fair Wage Commissioners will get fair wages ….. let’s say around $15/hr.

That is what Ontario’s will be by 2019. That is in 2 years, not 4.

See what a Liberal provincial government can do versus a miserly NDP ….. ;-)

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