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NDP Government To Raise Minimum Wage To $11.35 In September

Premier John Horgan didn’t raise the regular minimum wage to $15 an hour but his new NDP government is moving closer to the $15 an hour they promised but for now British Columbians will be getting an additional 50 cents starting in September. Effective Sept. 15, 2017, minimum-wage earners will see their pay increase to $11.35 per hour from $10.85 per hour, giving B.C. the third-highest minimum wage among Canada’s provinces – up from seventh position.

VICTORIA – Premier John Horgan didn’t raise the regular minimum wage to $15 an hour but his new NDP government is moving closer to the $15 an hour they promised but for now British Columbians will be getting an additional 50 cents starting in September.

The provincial government said in a press release Tuesday that it is making its first move toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage for British Columbia by announcing a 50-cent increase for September and renewing its commitment to a fair wages commission.

Horgan said moving over time to a $15 minimum wage is long overdue in making life more affordable for British Columbians.

“British Columbia’s lowest-paid workers need a raise,” Premier Horgan said. “The action we’re taking will make life better for working parents, seniors, new Canadians, students and more – these are people struggling to get by.”

Effective Sept. 15, 2017, minimum-wage earners will see their pay increase to $11.35 per hour from $10.85 per hour, giving B.C. the third-highest minimum wage among Canada’s provinces – up from seventh position.

“Today’s increase and our commitment to the $15 minimum wage will benefit almost 100,000 British Columbians who have been getting by on one of the lowest minimum wages in the country,” said Horgan, adding that 62% of minimum-wage earners are women.

Labour Minister Harry Bains said details around a fair wages commission’s composition and terms of reference will be announced in the coming weeks, but that its overarching objective is to get British Columbia to $15 along a planned, responsible path. The commission will submit its first report within 90 days of its first meeting.

“We’ve listened to business owners, who have told us gradual, predictable increases are the way to go to minimize the impact on their businesses,” Bains said. “And they recognize that the move to a $15 minimum wage is good for retention for their businesses, and good for the B.C. economy.”

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. Other minimum-wage provisions in the employment standards regulation will also receive increases in line with the general minimum-wage increase of 4.6%. This includes the daily rate for live-in home support workers and live-in camp leaders, as well as the monthly rates for resident caretakers and the minimum farm worker piece rates for harvesters of certain fruits and vegetables.

Surrey Board of Trade said their 2016 Survey on raising the minimum wage found apprehension among business owners who said it would make it difficult to operate.

“Regarding minimum wage, the results of the survey did support the Surrey Board of Trade’s current policy which is to have the minimum wage indexed to the Consumer Price Index, with predictable and consistent increases so that businesses can adjust without undue impact – especially on the small to medium sized employers,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

Nearly 70% of SBOT respondents work for companies that employ 50 employees or less, the rest more, with 23% in companies with over 100 employees.

Small businesses argue minimum wage increases will make it even more difficult for them to make ends meet amid a growing number of rising costs. Small-business owners in B.C. say a minimum-wage hike will likely force them to cut costs, including jobs, and potentially raise prices of their products and services. Businesses will be forced to adjust either by changing their service level or finding ways to improve productivity.

Quick Facts:

* In 2016, the percentage of employees earning minimum wage in British Columbia was 4.8%.

* The national average for the percentage of people earning minimum wage last year was 6.9%.

* The number of British Columbia employees earning minimum wage in 2016 was 93,800 out of a total of 1,958,600 paid employees (excluding self-employed).

* The following is a breakdown of the 93,800 who earned minimum wage in B.C. in 2016:

* 50,600, or 54%, were youth aged 15 to 24 years

* 13,100, or 14%, were aged 55 years or older

* 57,700, or 62%, were female

* 23,900, or 25%, did not have high school graduation

* 12,200, or 13%, had a university degree

 

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