B.C. farm workers' minimum wage rise to match percentage increase of other sectors

The minimum wage for B.C. farm workers paid by piece rate will next week finally rise to match the percentage increase in the general minimum wage in the province, officials announced.

The B.C. Ministry of Labour said the farm workers’ minimum wage will rise by 11.5% on Jan. 1, matching the rate of the general minimum wage increase that occurred in June. 

Piece-rate pay covers labour harvesting a number of specific crops, including Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, apples, peas, beans and grapes, officials say -  adding that the independent Fair Wages Commission will continue to assess the compensation levels of farm workers so that the wages are “both fair for workers and sustainable for farm operators.”

It is unclear what impact the move will have on consumer prices of said fruits and vegetables produced in B.C. starting next year. Previously, restaurant owners - when facing the rise of general minimum wage levels - said the labour cost increase for staff may lead to restaurants having to increase their prices to cover the new expenditures.

Restaurant servers and farm workers were among the last exemptions of the B.C. minimum wage.

(CORRECTION: The original article misidentified the increase of the farm-worker minimum wage to match general provincial minimum wage levels. B.C.'s farm-worker minimum wage will instead match the percentage increase of general provincial minimum wage increase.)