Sunday, 17 June, 2018

Minimum wage increases in BC, will reach $15.20 an hour in 2021

Premier John Horgan announces minimum wage increases at a Vancouver coffee shop on Feb. 8 2018. Flickr  Province of B.C Premier John Horgan announces minimum wage increases at a Vancouver coffee shop on Feb. 8 2018. Flickr Province of B.C
Nellie Chapman | 09 February, 2018, 10:26

"I would say to those workers that help is on the way", Mr. Horgan said, explaining that there are measures coming in this month's budget to address the housing and rent needs of British Columbians.

"Regular, predictable increases to our minimum wage are one important way we can make life more affordable for people", Premium John Horgan said.

It is also the timeline the NDP campaigned on ahead of the 2017 election.

These recommendations were brought forward by the Fair Wages Commission, after tasking the group to consult with communities across the province.

The Fair Wages Commission's report to Labour Minister Harry Bains is dated January 17.

"[There will be] another increase the following June and a further increase the June after that, until we realize $15.20 in June of 2021", says Horgan. "We're taking the recommendations of the Fair Wages Commission".

The June 1 wage increase will benefit 94,000 minimum-wage earners, while increasing the minimum wage to over $15 an hour on June 1, 2021, will benefit 400,000 workers throughout the province. Additional increases will take place on June 1 of each year for three more years. Another report on the discrepancy between the minimum wage and a "liveable wage" is set for later this year.

"Predictability and certainty allows businesses to plan and ensure they are prepared for these changes", he said.

British Columbia will gradually hike its minimum hourly wage to get to $15.20 by June 2021.

She said other provinces such as Ontario and Alberta have moved much more quickly toward a $15 target.

There are about 500,000 workers in B.C. who are being paid too little to cross the poverty line, even if they work full-time, Lanzinger said.

The hourly minimum wage in B.C. will rise each June for the next four years, hitting $15.20 an hour in 2021.

The NDP government is hiking BC's minimum wage. "The Liberals, there was no clear path to 15".

"Freezing the minimum wage for 10 years hurt people, and then increasing it in a sporadic and unplanned way hurt businesses".

Iglika Ivanova, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives B.C. office, said the increases could have been made faster but that it's good that the largest increases will happen in the first two years. The living wage in Metro Vancouver is $20.62 per hour.

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.

Ian Tostenson, CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, said wages are not the cause of understaffing.