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

Choir leader’s selfless work wins her Castlegar Citizen of the Year

Christina Nolan has grown the community choir into a strong and vibrant asset for the city

Water main maintenance ongoing in South Castlegar and Blueberry

Project will take two weeks — city says there should not be any service disruptions

Downtown businesses want you to love them this weekend

Third annual event encourages people to shop in their own community.

Police investigating man’s death in Winlaw

Foul play not established, but major crimes unit is investigating

Grand Forks woman assaulted in home invasion

The incident took place Wednesday morning

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Kootenay man arrested and charged in 2015 murder

Nathaniel Jessup 32 of Creston has been charged with the second-degree murder of Katherine McAdam and offering an indignity to a body.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

GALLERY: First responders in Fernie return baby owl to its nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

Most Read