Minimum wage workers in B.C. will see a 50-cent increase in their pay on Sept. 15.
Premier Christy Clark first announced a two-stage plan to raise the minimum wage last May. The first stage, last September, upped the rate to $10.85, based on a 10-cent inflation increase and an extra 30 cents that the province committed.
The second stage, coming this fall, will see minimum wage go up to $11.35 an hour – 30 cents from the province and 20 cents based on inflation. Liquor servers will also see their pay go up by 50 cents to $10.10 an hour.
As of September, B.C. will have the fourth-highest minimum wage in Canada, behind Alberta, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
It’s still “absolutely inadequate,” according to B.C. Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger. The group, along with the BC NDP, have been calling for a $15 rate, gathering 50,000 signatures so far on a petition to that effort.
“This will continue to leave workers making minimum wage $4,000 below the poverty line,” said Lanzinger. “One-quarter of the workforce work for under $15 an hour.”
She said concerns that raising the minimum wage will hurt small business are unfounded.
“We haven’t seen that impact on small businesses,” she said. “They’re going to a $15 minimum wage in Alberta and Seattle… and small businesses are thriving.”