The B.C. government has announced the province’s minimum hourly wage will be increasing, first to $10.85 in September this year, then to $11.25 in September next year.
The wage increases – more than expected – will come into effect on September 15, 2016 and September 15, 2017 respectively.
Liquor servers, who already earn $1.25/hour less than the minimum wage, will get the same wage increases on the same dates.
The daily rate for live-in home-support workers and live-in camp leaders, and the monthly rates for resident caretakers and farmworker piece rates will rise “proportionate” to the increases.
B.C.’s current minimum wage is $10.45/hour – the lowest in Canada. The wage increases will boost it much higher up the charts, currently topped by Nunavut at $13/hour.
Approximately 93,700 people live on the minimum wage in B.C. Anyone who works full-time and only earns the minimum wage is surviving $6,000 below the poverty line.
The increase is more than was anticipated when the province announced last year it would link the minimum hourly wage to the consumer price index.
That would have meant a wage hike of only 10 cents/hour this year – but instead workers are getting an increase of 40 cents/hour this year and next.
The government has also announced spending of $2.88 million on programs aimed at fixing a shortage of workers in B.C.
The programs will be aimed at young people, small businesses and employers in the retail, hospitality, agriculture and aquaculture sectors.
They will provide grants for small businesses who hire unemployed people, and more funding for youth work placement, on-the-job skills training and a wage subsidy.
Editor’s notes: This article originally said 110,000 people in B.C. are living on the minimum wage. Those figures have now been updated and this post has been changed to reflect that. It also said liquor servers earn $1.25/hour more than the minimum wage. In fact, it is $1.25/hour less.