Public Affairs Update Header
April 4, 2016
In This Issue
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

Minimum wage increase back on the political agenda
Jobs Minister Shirley Bond says the B.C. government is considering a new way of making minimum wage increases that could lead to a bigger boost for the province’s lowest-wage workers.

Bond said the government would look at tying minimum wage increases to economic growth. In today’s economy, that would result in a bigger increase than the government’s previous approach, which tied wage increases to inflation, and would have seen B.C.’s minimum wage increase by 10 cents on September 15.

The BC Chamber continues to advocate businesses’ need for certainty and predictability around minimum wage increases.

Sharing economy a hot issue in 2016
While the B.C. Government reviews the potential impact of the sharing economy in B.C., municipal governments and industry are taking action of their own to advance their interests.

In Vancouver, City Council will vote tomorrow on a motion to study how Airbnb impacts the city’s rental stock, with one councillor calling for a crackdown to boost vacancy rates and reduce rent prices. Meanwhile on the ride share front, Uber has stepped up an advertising campaign in Vancouver to try to increase support for the ride sharing app, by slamming long taxi wait times in the Lower Mainland.

Applications open for $75-million BC Rural Dividend
Applications for the first year of funding under the BC Rural Dividend will be accepted from April 4 to May 31.

As committed during the September 2015 Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention and in B.C. Budget 2016, the three-year $75-million Rural Dividend will help rural communities with populations under 25,000 diversify and strengthen their economies.

Funding of $25 million per year is available in four categories:

  • community capacity building;
  • workforce development;
  • community and economic development; and
  • business sector development.
Local governments, not-for-profit organizations and First Nations are all eligible to apply. More details here.