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LETTER: Retailers not to blame for self checkouts

Increased minimum wage, higher taxes affect businesses

Dear Editor:

I found the editorial comments by John Arendt absurd, on the portion relating to self checkout counters. (Automated checkouts are altering the job market, Summerland Review, Aug. 12, 2021) He is blaming retailers for installing self checkout counters.

Retailers are not to blame for these self checkout counters. The person to blame is our premier, John Horgan.

Horgan has increased the minimum wage every year for the last four years. B.C. now has the highest minimum wage in all of Canada, now at $15.20 per hour.

Horgan has no knowledge of how a business operates financially. The mathematics of Horgan is for retailers to raise their prices when the minimum wage is increased.

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The mathematics of retailers is to stop hiring new employees, unless a employee has to be replaced because of quitting a job, shorter working hours, and sending some employees to file for unemployment insurance. This offsets not having to raise prices.

Horgan fails to realize that when the minimum wage is increased, so is employee benefit that the employers have to pay has also risen. Workers’ compensation, vacation pay, employer share of the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance.

Employee benefits is about 35 per cent. The $15.20 per hour plus 35 per cent in benefits works out to $31.19 per hour.

Horgan also brought in the dreadful employer health care tax. This tax is 1.95 per cent of a employer’s total payroll. Increasing minimum wage also increases this tax.

This was a Horgan blunder, as this tax did not have to come into effect.

He created the tax to offset the lost revenue from eliminating the B.C. medical billing. If he understood how math works, he should have left the B.C. medical as is and just lower the income tax rates.

We all hear that everyone deserves a decent wage. True, but not on the backs of small business.

The owner of a fast food franchise has to pay more in wages, but is not allowed to raise menu prices, because corporate office does not allow menu increase until they do new pricing. The franchise owner only has one solution to Horgan’s math: Lower labour costs. Why should the owner have to pay this new expense out of the business bottom line profit.

Horgan says that elimination of the B.C. medical billing will save money for everyone, including employers. I looked at the financial statements of the City of Vancouver. Under the old system of B.C. medical, the city paid out $4 million to B.C. medical for one year.

Now with the new Horgan math, the city now pays $10 million to the dreadful employer health care tax.

An increase of 150 per cent. This also creates more unemployment, and if not unemployment, then more increases in property taxes.

The last minimum wage increase was on June 1, 2021. I now have to wait in the checkout lines longer now. I just say to myself, thank you John Horgan.

I will not use the self checkout because I do not agree with Horgan’s math of eliminating employee paycheques.

Joe Sawchuk


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Letter to the Editor