B.C. minimum wage rises 40 cents today to $10.85 an hour

Pay raise for 120,000 B.C. workers criticized as too small as labour, NDP push for $15 minimum

Minimum wage workers now get $10.85 an hour in B.C.

More than 120,000 B.C. workers get a raise today as the B.C. government hikes the minimum wage from $10.45 to $10.85 per hour.

An increase of just 10 cents had been scheduled under the BC Liberal government’s previous plan of following a cost-of-living formula.

But Premier Christy Clark announced in May the increase would be boosted to 40 cents and indicated a similar lift will come next fall.

BC NDP leader John Horgan has committed to a $15 minimum wage, which is also the target of a campaign led by the B.C. Federation of Labour and is expected to be a key issue for New Democrats in next spring’s provincial election.

MORE ON THIS ISSUE:The bare minimum: B.C. election lines drawn over minimum wageB.C. NDP commits to $15 minimum wageBC VIEWS: Premier Red Green’s fast fixes

The labour federation says the latest 40-cent increase does little to reduce inequality in B.C., while a $15 an hour minimum wage would help lift 500,000 B.C. workers – one in four – out of poverty.

“Small minimum wage increases— like the one we’re seeing today—only perpetuate working poverty,” said Iglika Ivanova, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“The majority of low-wage workers work full time, and nearly a third have been in the same job for over three years. We’re not talking about teenagers or casual workers—these are adults struggling to make ends meet with poverty-level wages in one of the most expensive provinces in Canada.”

B.C. previously had the lowest minimum wage in Canada, but the latest increase places it eighth lowest relative to other provinces and territories.

But critics of significant minimum wage hikes point to the strain it could put on businesses and suggest it could hurt as many people as it helps.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business warned minimum wage increases can prompt businesses to cut jobs or hours, raise prices or delay expansion plans.

“The knee-jerk impulse to force employers to pay higher wages for entry-level jobs may make the politicians feel like they are doing something, but it may actually do more harm than good.,” said CFIB B.C. vice-president Richard Truscott. “When you add that to a potential CPP payroll tax increase, it’s easy to see why many small businesses are seriously worried.”

The B.C. formula discounts the minimum wage by $1.25 for restaurant and pub servers, to reflect the income they receive from tips.

Meanwhile, the province is also shelving planned hikes to Medical Services Plan premiums, which were to jump four per cent next year. Rates for MSP will stay at $75 per month for an adult earning more than $30,000 a year, and will go down for people on premium assistance.

Just Posted

Quilter’s placemat project brightens Maeford Place table settings

Quesnel quilter creates placemats for senior residents at Maeford Place

Letter: raising minimum wage was one of first acts of new government

Improving affordability for people is one of NDP government’s key priorities

Students show focus in annual Elementary School Cross-country Ski races

Students age five to 12 competed at Hallis Lake on Feb. 17

Quesnel Hospital Auxiliary always busy and put in 12,000 volunteer hours in 2017

Winter can be a time of quiet reflection on the past and where we are today

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

Via Rail’s unofficial travelling art program

Jasper-Prince Rupert train has a car dedicated to art offered by the one-of-a-kind Bruce Brown

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read