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

Quesnel resident knows things must change

‘I realize change must happen is somebody’s back yard’

Quesnel head coach thinks his team will match up well

Team has mix of size and skills that will keep them in games – speed questionable

Rick and Nico present two shows in Quesnel

Infamous veteran folkie Rick Scott and keyboard ace Nico Rhodes join forces for outstanding concert

March is Epilepsy Awareness Month

A list of places selling various food and non-food items to support the campaign

All change at the Observer

New editor takes the helm; longstanding Lifestyles editor retires

VIDEO: Climber ‘catches the sunrise’ over city atop B.C. crane

Police warn ‘rooftopping’ poses risk to climber, public and first responders

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.

Canadian survivors, supporters rally against proposed ’60s Scoop settlement

Some have accused the government of underestimating the number of survivors

Nordic athlete Arendz to be Canada’s flagbearer at Paralympic closing ceremony

The biathlete and cross-country skier from Hartsville has raced to five medals in Pyeongchang

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

Most Read