B.C. minimum wage increase expected to come this fall

The British Columbia government is considering raising the minimum wage beyond its scheduled top up as the provincial economy prospers.

The province has the second-lowest minimum wage in Canada

B.C. has the second-lowest minimum wage in Canada. It's considering raising the minimum wage this September (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

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 between supporting workers while recognizing the impacts on businesses.

She says the government is thinking of tying the annual increase to economic growth instead.

"Given our stronger economic growth, we feel there should be room for a modest incremental adjustment beyond B.C.'s CPI so that all workers can benefit from our success," Bond wrote in a news release. 

The minister says she expects to announce a minimum wage increase this spring, with the new rate coming into effect in September.

"In setting the minimum wage rate, we have always been clear: 'We want to strike a balance,'" wrote Bond.

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 the B.C. Federation of Labour is calling for.

With files from Richard Zussman

with files from The Canadian Press

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