B.C.’s minimum wage going up May 1

Premier Christy Clark and Labour Minister Stephanie Cadieux announce minimum wage increases at the B.C. legislature Wednesday.

B.C.’s minimum wage is going up from $8 an hour to $8.75 on May 1, with two more increases by next year.

Premier Christy Clark made the announcement Wednesday after her first cabinet meeting. She called it a “long overdue first step” in a province where the minimum wage hasn’t changed in a decade and is the lowest in Canada. When fully implemented, the pay of a minimum wage worker will increase by about $4,000 a year.

The general hourly minimum wage rate rises to $8.75 on May 1, to $9.50 on Nov. 1 and to $10.25 on May 1, 2012. The $6 an hour training wage is also being eliminated this May 1.

A lower minimum will be set for restaurant and bar employees who serve alcohol: $8.50 an hour on May 1, $8.75 on Nov. 1 and $9 on May 1, 2012. Clark said that measure is similar to the minimum wage system in Ontario, and it reflects the tips earned by alcohol servers.

“People who serve alcohol for a living will in many cases be earning more from their tips than they do from their wages,” Clark said.

NDP critic Shane Simpson said the initial increase will still leave B.C. with the lowest minimum wage in the country. The NDP and the B.C. Federation of Labour have been campaigning for an immediate increase to $10 an hour.

“We know that even at $10.25, it will still be below the low-income cutoff for poverty rates in this province, so it’s still going to be a challenge,” Simpson said.

Clark denied that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs in the B.C. economy.

“Less than three per cent of the population works at minimum wage,” Clark said. “It’s about 41,000 people, and a good portion of that will be working in an alcohol server jobs. So I don’t think it will cost jobs.”

Business representatives disagreed.

“The research is clear that minimum wage hikes put entry-level jobs in jeopardy,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Chair of the Coalition of BC Businesses. “Employers on tight margins will have to roll back hours or hold off new hires due to increased payroll costs as well as expectations for cascading wage hikes for non-minimum wage employees.”

Labour Minister Stephanie Cadieux said the decision to phase in the increase was made after detailed consultation with business and labour representatives, begun last fall. The ministry will review the situation every two years to see if further changes need to be made, Cadieux said.

Just Posted

New fieldhouse slated for Kelowna’s Rutland Recreation Park

New 9,000-square-foot, two-storey building would replace smaller, aging change rooms

Central Okanagan trustees approve salary hike

Increase to off-set loss of tax-free income benefit

New Lake Country middle school named after inspirational teacher

Central Okanagan school board settles on H.S. Grenda Middle School

B.C. Tree Fruits searching for new CEO and CFO

Top job postings at growers’ cooperative listed quietly at the end of November

Shakey Graves brings his musical evolution to the Okanagan Valley

The constantly evolving artist is set to perform in Kelowna

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Similkameen gas station attendant has gun pulled on her

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

‘People talk about deep sadness:’ Scientists study climate change grief

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia — a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

As protectors abandon Trump, investigation draws closer

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes.

Senate delays start of sittings in new home, delaying start of broadcasts

The Senate and House of Commons are moving into temporary homes for the next decade as a result of long-planned and badly needed renovations to the Centre Block.

UK leader seeks EU lifeline after surviving confidence vote

EU leaders gather for a two-day summit, beginning Thursday, which will center on the Brexit negotiations.

Warrant issued for South Okanagan man facing manslaughter charges

Sylvain Modeste Demers is wanted on a warrant

Snowfall warning for Coquihalla, B.C. highways

It’s another wintry day for B.C. highways

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

Most Read