B.C. raising minimum wage nearly 7% in June to $16.75 per hour
British Columbia is boosting its minimum wage to $16.75 per hour as of June 1, 2023 — a 6.9% increase.
Harry Bains, the province’s Minister of Labour, said ensuring the wage keeps up with inflation is key to prevent the low-paid workers from falling behind.
“These workers and their families feel the impacts of high costs much more than anyone else. We are maintaining our policy of tying the minimum wage to inflation,” he said.
The increase reflects B.C.’s average annual inflation rate in 2022, the province said. The same increase will apply to wages for residential caretakers, live-in home-support workers and camp leaders. On Jan. 1, 2024, piece rates for 15 hand-harvested crops will also increase by 6.9%.
“Elevating the minimum wage is a necessary response to inflation. The inflation we are experiencing now in B.C. is driven by profits, not wages,” said Jim Stanford, director, Centre for Future Work. “It is unfair to expect the most vulnerable workers to give up some of their non-discretionary income because of record high inflation. By ensuring fairer compensation for our lowest-paid workers, we will reduce inequality and foster a more inclusive society.”
There are about 150,000 workers in the province who earn less than $16.75 per hour, it said, and many are in the food service, grocery and retail industries that were essential during the pandemic.
The province said it has made “regular, gradual increases” to provide certainty for workers and predictability for businesses.
Sam Jones, the owner of 2% Jazz Coffee and founding member of the Bread and Butter Collective on Vancouver Island, said the increases provide “fair” compensation to workers.
“Especially in the hospitality sector, increasing the minimum wage helps level the playing field for small businesses that pay a living wage – such as myself,” said Jones. “An even playing field where workers’ and employers’ needs are being met is what small business, employees and our customers need right now.”
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