The minimum wage in British Columbia will increase annually for four years, starting this June.
By 2021, minimum wage earners will get $15.20 an hour.
The series of wage hikes was announced Wednesday (February 8) by B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan and Minister of Labour Harry Bains.
The increases start with $1.30 on June 1, 2018, bringing the minimum wage to $12.65.
In June 2019, the minimum wage goes up $1.20 for a new hourly of $13.85.
This will be followed by an increase of 75 cents in 2020, which will put the wage at $14.60.
Another increase of 60 cents is up in June 2021, giving workers $15.20 in hourly wages.
“Regular, predictable increases to our minimum wage are one important way we can make life more affordable for people,” Horgan said in a media release.
Horgan said the lowest paid workers in the province “deserve a fair shake and a fair wage”.
Minimum wage earners in B.C. currently get paid $11.35 an hour.
The increases were recommended by the Fair Wages Commission (FWC) established by the B.C. NDP government in October 2017.
In the same media release, Bains said: “We are taking a balanced approach that will work better for everyone, by bringing in measured and predictable increases over time.”
The FWC was chaired by SFU professor Marjorie Griffin Cohen.
In its report to the provincial government, the commission stated that B.C.’s strong economy can support a wage increase.
“Considering the strength of the current BC economy, our assessment is that the timing is excellent for getting to $15/hour relatively soon,” the FWC report noted.
B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said in another media release that the increase will benefit the economy.
“We know that our economy will be made even stronger when people can afford to live where they work, have adequate income and time to spend with their families and on their health, and have disposable income to help fuel local businesses,” Weaver said.
The series of wage increases was also welcomed by MoveUP, a union representing public and private sector companies.
“We strongly believe that nobody working full-time should be living below the poverty line,” MoveUP President David Black said in a separate media release.
In last year’s election campaign, Horgan and the B.C. NDP pledge to increase the minimum wage to $15 in 2021.More