As businesses slowly start to reopen across the province as part of BC’s reopening plan, Provincial Labour Minister Harry Bains said that the minimum wage increase scheduled for June 1 will still proceed as planned.
Bains made the comments during a press conference this week, after being asked if the pandemic pay that was recently announced for frontline workers could potentially be expanded to include others as well, such as grocery store employees.
Noting the pandemic pay program is a federal one that BC is participating in, Bains stressed the goal of it is to “provide extra support to those who are providing critical public services in health, social services, and corrections, because those are the workers who are dealing with those most vulnerable who are sick, and they are working with them on a day-to-day basis.”
He noted that provincially, however, “we are working to uplift those that are the lowest paid in the province, and the minimum wage is going to go up June 1.”
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The minimum wage is set to increase 75 cents on June 1, from $13.85 to $14.60 an hour.
With many businesses across a variety of sectors currently struggling with the economic fallout of the pandemic, Bains was asked if the province had given any consideration to potentially deferring the increase – or even cancelling it altogether at this time.
This route was not in the cards, according to the minister.
“The minimum wage will continue to go on as planned,” said Bains. “The lowest-paid workers in BC need help as well. They need money in their pockets so that they will go and invest in the local businesses who are suffering right now and they’ll help the local businesses in their own communities.”