Surrey, BC (WNews) – British Columbia’s minimum wage is the highest in the country and it is about to go even higher. On Monday, the province announced in Surrey that it was linking minimum wage increases to inflation.
As a result of the change, the minimum wage will increase from $15.20 per hour to $15.65 per hour on June 1.
“This is so wages keep pace in a predictable way. This will provide certainty to businesses as well,” Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, said on Monday.
“This better reflects the challenges workers face. Workers need to be able to keep up with the cost of living.”
With respect to the increase, one challenge is that it will be based on the average inflation rate of the previous year.
According to the BC Employment Statistics, in 2021 six percent of employees in British Columbia earned minimum wage or less. Of these six percent, 52 percent of employees earning minimum wage or less were over the age of 25 and 58 percent were female.
Although the increases should make B.C. a more liveable place, it is still well below the living wage. The living wage in Metro Vancouver is $20.52 per hour.
There is no final decision yet from the province on future increases being higher than inflation, as the province is waiting on a report from the Fair Wages Commission.
“We fully understand businesses are hurting and workers are still struggling living with some of the highest costs,” Bains said.
“There is no link of job losses to minimum wage. We are now the highest and our economy is one of the best in the country. We have 84,000 more workers working than pre-COVID.”
Over the past five years, B.C.’s general minimum wage has increased from $11.35 to $15.65 per hour.
A 2.8% increase in the minimum daily wage for a live-in camp leader and a live-in home support worker will also be applied to them as of June 1.
“The increases to the minimum wage over the past few years have made a huge difference to me and my family,” Metrotown shopping mall cleaner Agnes Estimo said.
“I appreciate very much these timely changes, considering the inflation happening, but it also makes me feel valued and appreciated.”