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B.C. to get $15 minimum wage by the middle of 2021

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaking at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in Vancouver in September 2017. Photo by Government of British Columbia/Flickr.
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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Premier John Horgan announced today that B.C. will adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage by June 2021, after that amount was recommended by the Fair Wages Commission.

Horgan said today that in order to get to the $15 an hour mark in that timeframe, the minimum wage will increase by $1.30 an hour on June 1st to $12.65 an hour. Additional increases will take place on June 1 of each year for three more years to $15.20 an hour in just over three years’ time. B.C.’s current minimum wage of $11.35 per hour is the lowest in Canada.

The Fair Wages Commission, which was established last Fall, recommended the minimum wage rise by an additional $1.20 next year, tapering to a 75 cent raise in 2020, and between 60 and 80 cents in 2021 depending on the province’s economic situation.

The minimum wage in B.C. was not increased between 2001 and 2010, before rising by $2.25 to $10.25 by 2012. Increases were also made by the provincial government in the last three years by increments of 20, 40, and 50 cents each year, respectively.

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“Regular, predictable increases to our minimum wage are one important way we can make life more affordable for people,” said Premier Horgan. “For too long, the lowest-paid workers in our province have been left to fall behind, with their wages frozen for a decade at a time. That’s not fair and it’s not right. Like all British Columbians, our lowest-paid workers deserve a fair shake and a fair wage.”

94,000 minimum-wage earners in B.C. will see a benefit from June’s rate hike. 400,000 workers, or 20 percent of workers in B.C., currently earn less than $15 an hour. Of those earning less than $15 an hour, 52 percent are over the age of 25, more than 75 percent are not students, 61 percent are in coupled families, and over 51 percent have a post-secondary education.

“Freezing the minimum wage for 10 years hurt people, and then increasing it in a sporadic and unplanned way hurt businesses. We are taking a balanced approach that will work better for everyone, by bringing in measured and predictable increases over time,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “I’m thankful for the incredible work done by the members of the Fair Wages Commission, who worked together to come up with a fair path forward.”

The Fair Wages Commission report with recommendations can be found here: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/237/2018/02/Report-1_BC-Fair-Wages-Commission_Jan-2018.pdf.

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