The North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce is starting to feel the pinch of the minimum wage increase.  President Peter Chirico says at least two businesses have withdrawn from the chamber’s benefits program to cut costs.   Chirico says it may not stop with two.   “Others are looking at this,” he said.   “They’re just waiting to see what the climate looks like later in the year.”   Chirico said the business group is also hearing that some businesses may not hire as many summer students to keep their costs down.

Moose News asked the chamber president if the rise in the minimum wage could also get some merchants to re-think their membership affiliation as another way to offset costs as a result of the minimum wage jump.   Chirico admitted there’s a distinct possibility this could happen but hoped it wouldn’t come to this.   “We hope the business community sees the value the chamber of commerce brings to the table when it comes to making sense of different reforms like payroll taxes or minimum wage implications,” Chirico said.   “The chamber has been very vocal in these areas.”   Chirico adds to reduce the possibility of businesses cancelling their memberships, the chamber froze membership fees this year so that merchants would have one less increase on their hands to worry about.