The minimum wage in British Columbia will increase by 50 cents to $11.35 an hour, effective September 15, 2017, the provincial government announced February 27.
This amount is 10 cents higher than the $11.25-per-hour minimum wage the B.C. government had in May 2016 said would go into effect in September of this year. In a news release, the government said the new rate includes a 20-cent increase tied to inflation plus an additional 30 cents; the government’s original plan had called for a 10-cent inflation-related bump.
Liquor servers will also see their minimum wages increase by 50 cents per hour, to $10.10.
Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Federation of Labour, said the 10-cent-per-hour bump won’t go far to help lift low-wage workers out of poverty.
“The increase allows the Liberals to pretend they’re doing something about poverty, when they’re really not,” Lanzinger said.
“What we really need from government is a concrete plan to address poverty, low wages and rampant inequality in B.C.”
Lanzinger said it would take an increase to $15 per hour to lift 500,000 low-wage workers in the province out of poverty.
The minimum wage increased from $10.45 to $10.85 per hour in September 2016. This bump included a 10-cent increase tied to 2015’s inflation rate.
In 2016, 93,800 employees in B.C. were working for minimum wage, comprising 4.8% of the total workforce of more than 1.95 million workers. In 2012, the percentage of those working for minimum wage was 7.5%. The national average is 6.9%.
Rates for live-in home support and camp leaders, caretakers and farm workers will also increase, but details of these increases will not be released until closer to the September 15 effective date.