BC’s minimum wage is going up by a dollar 30 an hour to 12 dollars and 65 cents June 1st.
Premier John Horgan says an additional increase will take place June 1st of each year until the wage hits 15 dollars and 20 cents an hour in 2021.
“With another increase the following June and a further increase the June after that until we realize 15 dollars and 20 cents in June of 2021.”
The increases are based on the work put in by the Fair Wage Commission.
Horgan says the government wants to change the way we look at wages.
“We want to make sure that we take politics out of minimum wage increases. We want to make sure that we compare minimum wage policies to fair wage polices or living wage policies.”
Horgan says graduating the increases allows businesses to plan and ensure that they’re prepared for the changes.
“What the Commission heard from employer groups and others is they want predictability and a time frame to make decisions. To help them shape their human resource planning, their operations planning. Are they going to expand. Are they going to contract. Are they going to focus on other areas of their business.”
The Premier says the government will help by cutting some business costs such as eliminating PST for businesses by 2019 and lower Medical Services Premiums.
As for people who say waiting to 2021 is too long to wait, Horgan says other help is on the way.
“And there is a range of other measures that we’re going to be introduced in the budget this month that will assist on things like housing, on rent, on a whole host of other issues. Our objective is to keep costs down for citizens.”
The Premier says affordability isn’t just a wage issue.
Labour Minister Harry Bains added the Fair Wage Commission will continue to address other minimum wages such as those for liquor workers and agriculture workers as well as the disparity between minimum wages and living wages.
The Fair Wages Commission recommended the following schedule of increases:
* June 1, 2018: $12.65 an hour ($1.30 increase)
* June 1, 2019: $13.85 ($1.20 increase)
* June 1, 2020: $14.60 ($0.75 increase)
* June 1, 2021: $15.20 ($0.60 increase)
Depending on economic conditions, the commission recommended that government consider of an additional hourly increase of up to $.20, to $15.40 an hour in 2021.
The Fair Wages Commission report with recommendations can be found here: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/237/2018/02/Report-1_BC-Fair-Wages-Commission_Jan-2018.pdf
The BC Federation of Labour likes the idea for a $15 minimum wage in BC, but is disappointed low wage workers have to wait three-plus years to get there.
President Irene Lanzinger says making 500,000 workers who currently make less than that, wait until 2021 to climb above poverty wages, isn’t fair.
She points out that other provinces have faster timelines like Ontario and Alberta.