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

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Mill undergoing four-week shutdown

Canfor closing other mills as well

Fish ban plan on ice for now

Bulkley, Morice closures were on the table

Club buys mountain bikes for community use

Exercise and club growth are twin goals

Cut stumpage, keep people working, says Rustad

Reducing the carbon tax and stumpage fees might help out struggling forestry… Continue reading

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read