The British Columbia government says the province’s lowest-paid workers, liquor servers, are getting a pay boost to match the general minimum wage that’s also set to increase in June.
Labour Minister Harry Bains says he’s proud to put an end to the discriminatory lower wages for liquor servers, 80 per cent of whom are women.
“Raising the minimum wage will bring equity and fairness for workers and make a big difference in the lives of thousands of British Columbians,” Bains said on Friday.
The province says liquor servers earning minimum wage will make $15.20 an hour, up from $13.95, effective June 1.
The general minimum wage is increasing by 60 cents from $14.60 an hour, and the minimum rates for live-in camp leaders and resident caretakers are also increasing.
“As a career liquor server for the past 36 years and mother of three adult children, the extra money helps me pay bills and catch up from lost wages when I was raising my kids. There are lots of workers who get paid tips in the service sector and to single out liquor servers for a lower wage is unfair, and I’m thankful this will be a thing of the past,” said Lara Higgs, a liquor server at Dinghy Dock Pub in Nanaimo.
Nearly 300,000 workers will be impacted by this pay boost, according to the government.
“Many low-income workers have been essential workers during the pandemic, and it’s only fair they receive the scheduled increase coming to them,” Bains adds.
The province says future increases to the minimum wage, starting next year, will be based on the rate of inflation to provide predictability.
Additionally, the province says the Fair Wages Commission recommended the $15.20 minimum wage in 2018, when B.C. had one of the lowest minimum wages in the country while being one of the most expensive provinces to live in.
With files to the Canadian Press.