When economic times were good, the Campbell administration rejected demands to increase the minimum wage, in part, because "the average hourly wage right now is $21.73. That's 21/2 times the minimum wage, and it's up over 21 per cent from 2001." So sayeth labour and citizens services minister Olga Ilich in October 2007. And, in an interview with The Canadian Press's Scott Sutherland she said, "We think it would be counterproductive to do so. We think we would lose jobs in the economy." But now that the economy is bad, the government is again rejecting those demands, arguing such an increase would "mean more job losses" and "depress job creation." Which begs the question, is there any time when the minimum wage could be increased?
Speaking to reporters, Premier Gordon Campbell said, "I think what we want to do Sean is make sure wages go up. We want to make sure wages stay as high as they can. That's why we've watched as wages are up over $20 a hour. Wages for young people are substantially higher than the so-called minimum wage. When we put in place our strategy it was to encourage investment and encourage job creation. And no one can look at the numbers and look at youth employment and employment generally across the province and say, 'That hasn't been a strategy that's worked.' The point we're making is that if government goes and thinks they can just add costs without impact, that's wrong. That's not a route we'll follow."