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BC now has the lowest minimum wage in Canada

WATCH: The province has announced plans to increase the current minimum wage come September . But Jill Bennett explains why critics say it's not enough and B.C. can do better.

Despite being April Fool’s Day, it is no joke that B.C. now has the lowest minimum wage in Canada.

“Today is the day that British Columbia officially moves into last place with lowest minimum wage in Canada,” said Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED).

The current minimum wage in British Columbia is $10.45 an hour. Liquor servers receive $9.20 an hour.

The BCFED would like to see the provincial government raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in order to ensure a person working full-time and earning the minimum wage can live above the poverty line.

According to a 2014 Labour Force Survey by Stats Canada, there are 509,400 working people in B.C. earning less than $15 per hour. Sixty per cent of those people are women and 82 per cent are 20 years old or older.

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A poll conducted by Insights West reveals 83 per cent of British Columbians think it is necessary to ensure a person earning the minimum wage lives above the poverty line.

In addition, 76 per cent of those polled support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

A number of jurisdictions in North America have moved to implement a $15 an hour minimum wage, including Seattle and California.

The BCFED would like to see the same plan implemented here.

“Growing poverty and income inequality in B.C. is something the public cares about,” said Lanzinger in a statement. “It impacts families, communities and our economy. It is time for the premier and her government to take this issue seriously. No more tinkering around the edges – British Columbians want real action.”

Minimum wage rates across Canada:

Nunavut: $13.00

Northwest Territories: $12.50

Ontario: $11.25; $11.40 as of October, 2016

Alberta: $11.20

Manitoba: $11.00

Yukon: $10.86

New Brunswick: $10.65 as of April 1, 2016; will move to $11 TBD 2017

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Nova Scotia: $10.60

Quebec: $10.55; $10.75 as of May 1, 2016

Prince Edward Island: $10.50; $11.00 as of October 1, 2016

Newfoundland: $10.50

Saskatchewan: $10.50

B.C.: $10.45