WATCH: Should the minimum wage be raised to $15? CJ Summers & Vivian Krause debate the issue with Jill Krop.
VANCOUVER – The current minimum wage in B.C. is $10.25 an hour; for a liquor server it is $9 an hour. The B.C. Federation of Labour (BCFED) would like to see general minimum wage in B.C. raised to $15 an hour.
In March the group lobbied to have the minimum wage raised to $13 an hour. “That $13 represents the poverty line and we believe that no government should tolerate a wage in British Columbia that when you go to work full-time, you’re not at the poverty line for a single person,” B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair said in March.
Following those meetings, Premier Christy Clark said she was concerned that raising the minimum wage to $13 an hour could hurt job creation.
But now the BCFED would like to see that raised by two dollars more.
“It is time to increase the minimum wage and address income inequality in BC,” the website states.
“It has been more than two and a half years since minimum wage workers received a raise.”
“At $10.25/hr BC’s minimum wage is one of the lowest in Canada. As the cost of living continues to go up, workers earning minimum wage cannot make ends meet.”
According to the BCFED there are more than 120,000 people in B.C. earning the minimum wage.
“At the current minimum wage, working full-time is not enough to lift a worker out of poverty,” said Jim Sinclair, president of the BCFED. “It has been almost three years since the last increase to the minimum wage. Workers fall behind when their wage is stagnant, yet the cost of living goes up each year.”
Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson said he is supportive of raising the minimum wage. “It will be very important for addressing poverty in Vancouver, given how challenging it is to afford to live in our city.”
“I hope to see the B.C. government take action swiftly and address the lag we have with minimum wage.”
In June, Ontario raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour, which is the highest in Canada, tied with Nunavut. In Alberta it is $10.20.
New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories have the lowest minimum wage in the country with $10 an hour.
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In the U.S., cities including Seattle and San Francisco are moving to a $15 an hour minimum wage.
“Seattle and San Francisco know that increasing the minimum wage gives a boost to local economies,” said Irene Lanzinger, secretary treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour. “ Low wage earners are more likely to spend their money at businesses in their neighbourhood. Businesses may also experience improved employee retention and productivity when employees feel valued and respected.”