WATCH: Minimum wage in this province is going up by more than 11 per cent. The increase of $1.30 an hour will take effect June 1st — and keep going up for the next three years — as the NDP government makes good on an election promise for a $15 minimum wage by 2021. Tess van Straaten reports.
The hourly minimum wage in B.C. will rise each June for the next four years, hitting $15.20 an hour in 2021.
Premier John Horgan, along with Labour Minister Harry Bains, announced the increase Thursday morning at a coffee shop in North Vancouver.
The first increase on June 1 will see the hourly minimum wage jump $1.30 from $11.35 to $12.65 an hour.
In 2019, B.C.'s lowest-paid workers will earn $13.85 an hour, $14.60 in 2020 and $15.20 the following year.
"For too long, the lowest-paid workers in our province have been left to fall behind, with their wages frozen for a decade at a time. That's not fair and it's not right," Horgan said.
"Like all British Columbians, our lowest-paid workers deserve a fair shake and a fair wage."
The province says this year's wage increase will benefit 94,000 workers who earn minimum wage and 400,000 employees when it reaches more than $15 an hour.
The NDP government endorsed recommendations from the Fair Wages Commission (FWC).
The FWC suggested in a report to the government in January a potential increase to $15.40 an hour in 2021, depending on economic conditions.
The province says the current minimum hourly wage applies to 4.8 per cent of B.C. employees and more than 20 per cent of all workers in the province bring in less than $15 an hour.
B.C. is the third Canadian province to commit to reaching $15 for a minimum wage rate.
The mark will be in effect in Alberta Oct. 1, and in Ontario on Jan. 1, 2019.
B.C. Federation of Labour disappointed in three-year wait for $15 minimum wage.
Although pleased the minimum wage rate will be boosted to $15 an hour in the province, the B.C. Federation of Labour is disappointed in the timeline to get there.
“Let’s be clear that achieving a $15 per hour minimum wage is an accomplishment and better than anything the previous B.C. Liberal government would have done to address poverty wages and inequality,” BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger said.
“But making 500,000 low paid workers who currently make less than $15 wait until June 1, 2021, to climb above poverty wage rates is not fair.”
Lanzinger says the next phase in the fair wage process involves exemptions from minimum wage.
The federation president is calling for the government to move "more decisively" when it comes to minimum wage exemptions for restaurant servers and farmworkers.