BC government boosts minimum wage to $12.65 in June
10 February, 2018, 05:26
British Columbia will follow in the footsteps of both Alberta and Ontario in implementing a plan to raise the minimum hourly wage to $15 per hour, the provincial government announced Thursday.
Horgan and Labour Minister Harry Bains are set to make the announcement this morning in North Vancouver.
The four hikes represent a 34 per cent increase over four years and comes on the heels of the work of B.C.'s Fair Wage Commission.
"If we're going to be competitive, if we're going to be able to recruit and retain workers in sectors like hospitality and others that pay, on balance, lower wages we need to make sure that we are competitive with other jurisdictions", Horgan said.
"Like all British Columbians, our lowest-paid workers deserve a fair shake and a fair wage".
The province says the current minimum hourly wage applies to 4.8 per cent of B.C. employees and more than 20 per cent of all workers in the province bring in less than $15 an hour.
The BC Federation of Labour released a statement saying a three year wait for a $15 minimum wage was "disappointing", while the Surrey Board of Trade said the timeline was too quick.
According to the provincial government, 94,000 B.C. workers will earn a higher wage this year as a result of this increase, and 400,000 will see a benefit by 2021.
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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".
After the election, with the support of the Green Party, the NDP government appointed a Fair Wages Commission to advise it on raising the minimum wage and dropped the deadline.
In a statement, federation President Irene Lanzinger said reaching $15 is better than any measure taken by the former BC Liberal government to address poverty wages and inequality. The province will then revisit the wage each year before the June increase to ensure it is keeping on target.
The Surrey Board of Trade, which has advocated for a five year implementation, says it is concerned about the impact of minimum wage increases over the next three years.
They have warned since the topic first came up that small businesses in particular are operating on small margins, and cost increases would hurt them.
Ian Tostenson, CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, said wages are not the cause of understaffing.
Lanzinger said that fear-mongering about how raising the minimum wage will affect businesses doesn't play out in reality.
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