The British Columbia government is considering raising the minimum wage beyond its scheduled top up as the provincial economy prospers.
In a news release, Jobs Minister Shirley Bond says stronger economic growth creates some room for a modest increase in the minimum wage beyond the consumer price index, which the wage is already tied to.
Bond says she has started discussions aimed at striking a balance that supports workers while recognizing the impacts on businesses. She says the government is thinking of tying the annual increase to economic growth instead.
The minister says she expects to announce a minimum wage increase this spring, with the new rate coming into effect in September.
Provincial government statistics show just five per cent of wage earners in B.C. earn the minimum wage — most of them youth aged 15 to 24 — compared with the national average of 7.1 per cent.
The current minimum wage is $10.45 per hour. That is the second lowest in the country behind $10.30 per hour in New Brunswick.
The increase falls short of the $15 hourly minimum wage for which the B.C. Federation of Labour is calling.
With files from Richard Zussman