British Columbia

NDP wants $2 boost in B.C. minimum wage

The NDP is calling on the Campbell Liberal government to raise B.C.'s minimum wage to $10 an hour from the current $8, and to index it to the cost of living.

The NDP is calling on theCampbellLiberal government to raise B.C.'s minimum wage to $10 an hour from the current $8, and to index it to the cost of living.

NDP Leader Carole James acknowledges that many B.C. employers are already paying new workers more than the current minimum wage, but adds that about five per cent of employees are stuck at the bottom of the pay scale.

She said those workers deserve a raise, as it's clear that with a rising cost of living in B.C., more low-wage workers are falling into poverty.

Jamessaid that many businesspeople have told her they're worried about the cost. So she's calling for a one percentage point cut in the small business tax—from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

"Raising the minimum wage after a six-year freezeand reducing taxes for small businesses reflects my balanced approach," said the NDP leader. "We are going to ensure that work pays and that taxes remain competitive."

The NDP announcement echoes a similar call by the B.C. Federation of Labour last November. At that time, federation president Jim Sinclairsaid there were too many working people living in poverty.

Business leaders and the B.C. Liberal governmenthave opposedhigher minimum wages, calling them a job killer. But the New Democrats argue there is no direct link between higher minimum wages and higher unemployment.

Finance Minister Carole Taylor said Thursday that raising the minimum wage now—at a time of record low unemployment —would be a disincentive for investors.

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