BC to hike minimum wage by $1.30 in June

Ivan Schwartz
February 11, 2018

Business leaders said the raise is too fast.

British Columbia will move to a $15.20 minimum wage by June, 2021, running behind Ontario and Alberta, which will both hit the level within the next year.

The NDP government endorsed recommendations from the Fair Wages Commission (FWC).

The plan to reach $15 an hour provides for an immediate increase of $1.30 an hour on June 1 to a new minimum wage of $12.65 an hour.

In Surrey, the province's second-most populous city after Vancouver, the city's board of trade said the stress of the minimum-wage hike will be tough on its members, especially as it comes after increased property taxes and federal tax changes, among other stresses. "This commission should be empowered with the explicit mandate of analyzing the impacts of minimum wage increases and recommending changes going forward based on evidence", he said, in a statement. "We are disappointed in the timeline". "To ask them to wait three years to be lifted above the poverty line, actually more than three years, is really just not fair in our view". From 2001 to 2011, under premier Gordon Campbell, the minimum wage remained at $8 an hour.

Lanzinger said that fear-mongering about how raising the minimum wage will affect businesses doesn't play out in reality.

"It's a big step to see the increases front loaded", she said, noting that by June 2019 the minimum wage will be $2.50 higher than it is today and close to $14 an hour.

She says making 500,000 low paid workers who now make less than $15 wait until June 1, 2021 to climb above poverty wage rates is "not fair". In a report delivered to government in January 2018, following public consultations and receipt of research and submissions, the commission recommended four minimum wage increases over four years.

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It is, however, short of the living wage of $20.62 in Vancouver, Ivanova said.

Addressing the issue of poverty, he said, will involve more than wages, and many of those earning the minimum wage on the North Shore are not folks feeding their families but rather are part-time employees living at home with well-to-do families.

"All these things combined with minimum wage increases are going to help the working poor", she said.

The wage is now $11.35 and will rise every June until 2021.

The BC Federation of Labour claims 80 per cent of British Columbians who make less than $15 per hour are adults and one in seven holds a post-secondary degree.

According to the provincial government, some 400,000 workers in B.C. earn less than $15 an hour.

Also, the government has plans ahead for child care as part of its commitment to a $10-per day program, among other areas, he said.

Other reports by GizPress

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