British Columbia

Minimum wage in B.C. increases to $13.85 an hour today

Workers in B.C. now earn $1.20 more per hour compared to a year ago. Anti-poverty advocates say it's still well below what's needed to afford a good life in the province.

Workers now earning $1.20 more per hour, but anti-poverty advocates say it's still well below what's needed

B.C.'s minimum wage will rise to $15.20 by 2021. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

The good news today is the minimum wage in B.C. is going up to $13.85 from $12.65.

The bad news, according to anti-poverty campaigners, is that it's still woefully below what's needed to afford a good life in the province.

The living wage, which is what a working couple with two children needs to earn to pay for things like housing, child care, and transportation is calculated at $19.50 per hour for 2019 for Metro Vancouver by the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

'Significant gap'

Halena Seiferling, who speaks for the campaign in B.C., says the gap amounts to tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue for families who need it.

"There's still a significant gap there," she said of the difference between the minimum wage and the living wage.

Saturday's increase for the province's lowest paid workers is part of the provincial government's plan to raise the current wage to just over $15 an hour by 2021.

The province says the plan will help to make life more affordable for people, while also allowing businesses to plan around how to afford the wage.

Minimum wages across the country. (CBC)

Next June, the minimum wage will rise to $14.60 an hour before going up to $15.20 on June 1, 2021.

An independent panel, the Fair Wages Commission, was established in 2017 to look at the minimum wage.

Now it's looking at how to narrow the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage and has extended its deadline to June 28 for accepting submissions from workers for new recommendations for the provincial government,

Seiferling says the Living Wage for Families Campaign is recommending the commission become permanent.

She says though the minimum wage will increase and is increasing over the next several years, there's no plan beyond 2021.

"We don't know what's going to happen after that," she said.

Other increases for other low paying jobs

As part of the minimum wage increase, other workers in low paying jobs are also seeing better wages.

The minimum wage for a liquor server is increasign 11.4 per cent to $12.70 per hour.

Meanwhile, the resident caretaker minimum wage will increase 9.5 per cent per month to $831.45 for those who manage nine to 60 units or $2,832.11 for 61 or more units.

The live-in camp leader minimum wage will increase 9.5 per cent to $110.87 a day.

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