John Horgan says B.C. NDP will raise minimum wage to $15 per hour if elected in 2017.

"I will give British Columbians a raise," he said on Sunday in a release. "The minimum wage needs to be $15 an hour, and New Democrats are going to get it there."

Horgan made the announcement in Kamloops where 500 party members have gathered to talk strategy for the upcoming election, which will be held on May 9, 2017.

"Minimum wage is no longer something earned just by teenagers in their first jobs. Students, parents, seniors, new Canadians in every part of the economy are paid minimum wage," Horgan said.

The BC Federation of Labour applauded the commitment saying on social media that, "when you give workers a fair wage, you support families, communities and the economy."

Currently B.C.'s minimum wage is $10.45 per hour, the lowest in Canada. But on September 15, 2016, the B.C. Liberals will raise the rate to $10.85.

The increase will be based on the Consumer Price Index and the province is also committing to increase minimum wage to $11.25 per hour on September 15, 2017.

The B.C. Liberals have shied away from taking minimum wage in the province to the $15 per hour plateau because the party says it will hurt small businesses in compensating their employees.

"Christy Clark was elected on her promise to put B.C. families first, but in fact people have never been her priority," said Horgan on Sunday.

with files from Richard Zussman