NDP to raise B.C. minimum wage by 50 cents

Government says it’s part of a plan to increase the rate to $15/hour in the next four years

B.C.’s minimum wage is going up next month as part of a plan to hit $15 per hour by 2021.

NDP Labour Minister Harry Bains made good on his party’s election promise on Tuesday, saying the rate will go up by 50 cents, to $11.35 an hour, in September. The liquor servers’ wage will go up by the same amount to $10.10 per hour.

The previous BC Liberal government had pledged to boost the minimum wage by 50 cents in February, but Bains panned what he called their slow and unpredictable effort.

“We will give it a legal effect so that it will be implemented Sept. 15,” said Bains.

The rate will go up by “incremental and predictable increases,” he told reporters, with a “responsible, fair approach.”

B.C.’s minimum wage is currently the seventh highest rate out of 10 in Canada. The jump to $11.35 will put it at the third highest. Seattle has also promised to increase its minimum wage to $15.

RELATED: B.C. NDP commits to $15 minimum wage

The province will also start a fair wage commission to help employers prepare, he said, and help minimize the impact on small businesses.

“They can actually look at their structure and costs ahead of time,” Bains said. “Workers will have a few dollars more in their pockets and they will … boost our economy.”

The commission will explore how to settle the discrepancy between the proposed minimum wage and what is called the living wage, or what a family of four needs to earn to cover their basic expenses. The latter differs across the province, ranging from $17/hr mid-Vancouver Island to more than $20/hr in Vancouver.

BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger said she’d like to see the gap between the minimum and liveable wage shrink.

“That is a discussion to be had after we get to $15,” she said. “I’m not in favour of $15 for some and $14 for others because $15 gets you just above the poverty line.”

She added she was pleased with the NDP’s announcement, though she wished the changes were happening faster.

Meanwhile, the head of Surrey Board of Trade said the increase won’t be easy for small business owners.

RELATED: Surrey Board of Trade says minimum wage increase will hit small businesses hard

“We were originally advocates of a minimum wage increase when the Liberals were in power because we’re the lowest minimum wage in Canada as a province and we have the highest child poverty rate in Canada,” Anita Huberman said.

“We were, as a business organization, very different, supporting a minimum wage increase. But the move towards a $15 minimum wage, small business has to prepare now.”

Just Posted

Fun ‘n’ funds

More than $13,000 raised at Guns and Hoses charity game

UPDATE: Snowfall upgraded to 40cm by Wednesday evening

Lastest storms expected to bring wet snow and freezing rain through to the weekend

Female rep Midgets go 1-1-2 in Kamloops

The Northern Eagles improved through ‘A’ tournment

Terrace volleyball teams spike strong

Centennial and Caledonia teams claim zone banners, medals. Provincials coming up

House damaged by smoke, heat in fire

Blaze is under investigation

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Vigil held for woman whose remains were found on Shuswap farm

Family and friends remember Vernon resident Traci Genereaux and along with five other missing women

Brewers create anti-fascist ale

Not For Nazis Nut Brown Ale made in the Shuswap will be ready in time for Christmas

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

3,800-plant grow-op busted on First Nation reserve

Three men face charges after RCMP bust a large drug operation on the Soowahlie Reserve near Chilliwack

VIDEO: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Approval comes one day after province announces funding for Soliris on a case-by-case basis

B.C. boy’s social media bid to get levidrome in the Oxford dictionary goes viral

‘It’s been five weeks and has totally blown up today.’

Whistler venues could see 2026 Olympic action

Calgary is looking to cut down on costs

Most Read