British Columbia

B.C. raising minimum wage today to $10.85

Anyone making minimum wage in B.C. is getting a raise today of 40 cents per hour, but some critics say that is not enough.

Today's wage hike moves B.C. from lowest to middle of the pack in Canada

Minimum wage is rising to $10.85 today across B.C. (Karin Larsen/CBC)

Anyone making minimum wage in B.C. is getting a raise today of 40 cents per hour, but some critics say that is not nearly enough.

The hourly rate is rising from $10.45 per hour to $10.85 per hour, while the minimum wage for liquor servers will go from $9.20 to $9.60.

Live-in home support workers, camp leaders, residential caretakers and crop harvesters are also getting a mimimum wage hike today.

And next in September the rate will go up again, to at least $11.25 an hour.

The province announced the increases in May, saying the new numbers reflect B.C's economic growth.

How much is enough?

The increase moves B.C.'s minimum wage from the lowest in Canada to the middle of the pack. The highest minimum wage in Canada is $13 per hour in Nunavut.

But Alberta recently promised a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2018 and both the B.C.Federation of Labour and the BC NDP are calling on B.C. to follow suit.

Iglika Ivanova from the Centre for Policy Alternatives said few full time workers actually make minimum wage, and that's why she believes a $15 per hour minimum would be effective.

"If you look at the number of people who earn less than $15 in B.C. that is close to half a million workers."

One industry where today's raise will be felt is the restaurant business, according to Ian Tostenson, CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Association.

"I think you will see restaurants looking at ways to be more efficient, to schedule better, and look at portion sizes," said Tostenson.

With files from Richard Zussman


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