The BC government will increase the minimum wage from $10.85 to $11.35 an hour, effective September 15 of this year, “to better reflect the province’s overall economic growth and ensure all workers benefit from BC’s thriving job market.”
The increase is part of a process that the province put in place in May of last year, which saw the wage increase to $10.85 in September 2016.
“One of the first actions I took when I became Premier was to raise the minimum wage,” said BC Premier Christy Clark at the time. “Raising the minimum wage… will help everyone share in the benefits of our growing economy.”
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The new rate includes a 20¢ increase based on the BC 2016 Consumer Price Index, plus an additional 30¢.
There will also be an identical increase of 50¢ per hour to the liquor server minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
Increase “isn’t enough” says labour federation
In response to the provincial announcement, the president of the BC Federation of Labour, (BCFL) Irene Lanzinger said the increase “simply isn’t enough to help… low-wage workers in BC.”
The BCFL added that the increased minimum age will “will still leave minimum-wage workers in urban centres more than $4,000 below the poverty line.”
All this announcement does, Lanzinger said, is allow the Liberals “to pretend they’re doing something about poverty when they’re really not.”
What’s really needed is “a concrete plan to address poverty, low wages and rampant inequality in BC,” she furthered.
The BCFL said part of this plan should be a commitment to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, noting that NDP leader John Horgan has also promised to implement a $15 an hour minimum.
“The Clark government could choose to do this, but they won’t,” said Lanzinger. “And that speaks to the choices they make and whose side they’re on.”