NDP confirms BC's planned $0.50 minimum wage hike in September

Jon Howard
August 17, 2017

The fair wages commission will make recommendations on the best way to implement the promised increase and "minimize job losses", said Harry Bains, B.C.'s labour minister.

The minimum wage increase was part of the BC NDP's platform this spring and it's part of the government's long-term plan to reach a minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2021.

Raising the minimum wage from $11.35 to $15 an hour over four years will be too much, too soon for small businesses, says the BC Chamber of Commerce.

As of September 15, the minimum wage will jump from $10.85 per hour to $11.35 per hour, giving B.C. the third-highest minimum wage in Canada - up from seventh.

But Bains said the minimum wage increase was meant to go hand-in-hand with plans his government had to make living in BC more affordable.

At the same time as the general minimum-wage increase, the liquor servers' wage is also rising by 50 cents to $10.10 per hour.

As well, he said, the new provincial government would be honouring the promise of the previous BC Liberal government to raise the minimum wage by 50 cents. "We're concerned when governments move too quickly and at the wrong time, as it hurts businesses, customers and employees".

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"Just because they're doing it doesn't mean it's going to be done well", Litwin said, adding that studies out of the US found increasing wages too quickly results in businesses reducing hours or cutting staff.

Premier John Horgan said moving toward a $15 minimum wage is long overdue in making life more affordable for British Columbians.

"I don't know that right now, I can't predict that right now, but I think that's the goal".

Members of the public should expect to see the commission's first report in December this year, or January 2018, some 90 days after it has its first meeting, Bains said.

"We also committed to a poverty reduction plan, and a minimum wage increase will certainly play into that", he said.

"Restaurants Canada is pleased that the BC government is maintaining the previously-announced 2017 minimum wage increases that small businesses have been preparing for".

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