Minimum wage in B.C. is about to increase to $16.75 an hour, a boost the government says is part of a promise to tie the benchmark pay level to inflation.
The new minimum wage kicks in on Thursday and represents a 6.9 per cent increase from the current $15.65 an hour for B.C.’s lowest-paid workers, including resident caretakers, live-in home-support workers and live-in camp leaders, the provincial government says.
“Government has made regular, gradual increases to the minimum wage to provide certainty for workers and predictability for businesses,” reads a statement Monday.
“This is the second year that the adjustment reflects government’s commitment to tie annual minimum-wage increases to inflation.”
The $1.10 increase is much greater than the 45-cent boost in 2022, which matched the previous year’s 2.8 per cent inflation rate. Provincial officials say “options are being developed” to fulfil a commitment to tie the minimum wage to inflation for future years.
When the wage hike was first announced on April 5, Labour Minister Harry Bains said it was a “key step to prevent the lowest paid workers from falling behind,” as BC Federation of Labour President Sussanne Skidmore called it “much-needed.”
Meanwhile, BC Chamber of Commerce president Fiona Famulak said the increase was the latest of several government decisions “to have added significantly” to the cost of doing business in the province, adding: “This decision is the wrong choice, at the wrong time.”
Anita Huberman, president of the Surrey Board of Trade, said the increase would lead to “further unsustainable cost increases for businesses” amid already “unprecedented increases in taxes and fees from other levels of government.”
B.C.’s current minimum wage is the third-highest in the country, behind Yukon’s $15.70 and Nunavut’s $16.
-with files from The Canadian Press
A reminder that on June 1 the #minimumwage rises to $16.75/hour in #BC! For #workers finding it difficult to make ends meet, especially our lowest-paid workers, raising the minimum wage by 6.9% (the rate of inflation) is the right thing to do. Learn more: https://t.co/ZfdQaBMJai pic.twitter.com/J0nTjNVoku
— Harry Bains (@HarryBainsSN) May 29, 2023