B.C. minimum wage set to increase June 1

B.C. minimum wage set to increase June 1

Effective June 1, 2024, B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will get a pay raise when the general minimum wage increases from $16.75 an hour to $17.40 an hour.

“This represents about a 3.9 per cent increase which is consistent with B.C.’s average rate of inflation for 2023. We amended the Employment Standards Act to tie the minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation,” said Harry Bains, labour minister.

“This year and every year thereafter, it is a law now, every June 1 of every year, the minimum wage automatically will be increased by the average rate of inflation in the previous year.”

Bains said this will provide the certainty and predictability that the employers and workers have been asking for.

“Because of the global inflation and interest nationally, it’s been tough for so many people to make ends meet and the cost of living, yes has gone up but at the same time I think it’s our responsibility to make sure that the lowest paid worker do not fall further behind,” Bains added.

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While the pay bump is generally good news for minimum wage workers, Johnny Woo of Jade Founder Restaurant says this leaves him no choice but to increase his food menu prices, which he predicts will result in a 20 per cent drop in business.

“Because the people, they see the price, ‘oh this is too high,’ they don’t wanna come too much and then maybe they don’t want spend too much money on the food,” said Woo.

B.C.’s labour ministry says a number of measures have been introduced to help business owners including raising the threshold for the BC Health Tax from $500,000 to $1,000,000.

But even with the June 1 minimum wage increase, new statistics show one in three B.C. employees will be earning less than it costs to get by in the province – less than the living wage.

“The living wage is the wage which people need to earn in order to support a family and cover all their necessities and participate in community life without having to stress out about how they’re gonna pay the bills, or pay rent,” said Iglika Ivanova, senior economist at the B.C. Office of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.

Living Wage for Families B.C. provincial manager, Anastasia French told CHEK, “In Victoria the living wage is $25.40 an hour which is $8 an hour higher than the new minimum wage will be.”

“Workers who are not earning minimum wage have to make really difficult decisions every single day. They have to make decisions on how they’re gonna be able to cut back on essentials, they’re trapped in a gap, between what they earn and what they need to earn in order to make ends meet,” added French.

The living wage program recommends increasing the minimum wage to at least $20 to help workers close the gap to make life more affordable for British Columbians.

Harry CorroHarry Corro

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