WATCH: June 1 marks a day to celebrate for minimum wage earners across B.C. with a raise of $1.30 an hour, the biggest hike on record in the province. Luisa Alvarez went to find out what impact it might have on local businesses and how that could affect you.
General minimum wage in British Columbia rises to $12.65 an hour and minimum wage rates for liquor servers, resident caretakers, and live-in camp leaders will also increase on Friday.
The general minimum wage in B.C. will jump $1.30 from $11.35 per hour to $12.65 per hour, an 11 percent increase. Liquor server minimum wage will also go up by $1.30 per hour to $11.40 per hour, a 12.9 percent hike.
“Someone who is working full time in British Columbia in 2018 one of the richest provinces in the world? They shouldn’t be struggling to put food and pay rent for their families,” said BC Labour Minister Harry Bains.
And while it might affect businesses bottom line it’s a hit many are willing to take.
Co-owner of Red Barn Market Russ Bennwell says, “We are fully in support of that and it will just be a part of our business that we have to manage.”
But in order to soften the blow, Red Barns is raising prices on their sandwiches. Thursday, signs appeared on their windows warning customers and that could just be the start.
“We have yet to see other price increases possible come through we don’t have a line that everything will be going up we will just have to manage it as it comes,” said Bennwell.
Business owner Nikki Ottosen who owns Gardener for hire in Colwood is also in favour of the hike she says it’s about looking after our communities.
“We can’t just worry about ourselves we have to worry about our neighbours our customers our employees when one thing falls apart everything falls apart,” said Ottosen.
Ottosen has always paid her workers above minimum wage and recently gave them another increase in December but it hasn’t come without sacrifice.
“We’ve tightened our belts in other areas we limit travel time we are out in the field more often and we are just very aware on what we spend money on. Unnecessary tools purchased or unnecessary trucking expenses sometimes have to wait,” said Ottosen.
Resident caretaker minimum wage, per month, will increase 11.5 percent to $759.32 for those that manage from nine to 60 units (plus $30.43 per unit), or $2,586.40, for 61 or more units. The minimum wage, per day, for live-in camp leaders will increase 11.5 percent to $101.24.
The alternate minimum wage for live-in support will be eliminated. For many workers remaining in this category, the general minimum wage will apply for all hours worked.
The hike was announced earlier this year as part of the B.C. NDP’s four-year plan of incrementally
For the agricultural sector, farm workers paid by piece rate will see an increase as of Jan. 1, 2019. At that time, there will be an 11.5% increase to all minimum piece rates, with further study to take place in the meantime, in order to better balance the needs of workers and the agriculture industry.
The hike was first announced earlier this year and is part of the NDP’s four-year plan of increasing the minimum wage each year on June 1 until it reaches $15.20 per hour by June 2021. The separate lower liquor server wage will be phased out.
Friday’s increase is the largest of the planned increases.