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The B.C. government is scrapping the liquor servers wage by 2021

The B.C. government is planning to increase the minimum wage for servers.
The B.C. government is planning to increase the minimum wage for servers. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The B.C. government is scrapping the liquor server wage in the province. The province is committing to getting rid of the wage, which is set lower than minimum wage, to align it with minimum wage.

The changes are based on recommendations from the province’s Fair Wage Commission. Servers and bartenders will still be able to collect and keep tips.

LISTEN: B.C. government phasing out lower minimum wage for bar servers
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“My goal is to ensure that our workers are paid fairly,” said Labour Minister Harry Bains.

“The economy is booming and they believe the economy will continue to boom. They recognize the challenges in the restaurant industry, it is very competitive, but they believe it is the right thing to do.”

READ MORE: B.C. to raise minimum wage to $15.20 an hour by June 2021

The server wage will be phased out by 2021, with gradual increases to the wage taking place until then. The changes also include increases for resident caretakers, and live-in camp leaders starting on June 1, 2018. Farm workers will also see wage increases, but those will start on June 1, 2019.

WATCH HERE: Not everyone is on board with B.C. government’s plan to raise the minimum wage

Click to play video: 'Not everyone is on board with B.C. government’s plan to raise the minimum wage' Not everyone is on board with B.C. government’s plan to raise the minimum wage
Not everyone is on board with B.C. government’s plan to raise the minimum wage – Feb 9, 2018

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham says the farm worker changes are taking place a year later to balance the needs of both workers and the agriculture industry.

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“This is a critical industry for B.C. and we want to make sure any changes made help give it the strong, sustainable future it deserves,” said Popham in a statement. “We believe everyone who contributes to this industry should have their say as we move toward making wages fair and life more affordable for farm workers.”

READ MORE: $15 minimum wage consultations begin with B.C.’s Fair Wages Commission on Thursday

The minimum wage for liquor servers is currently set at $10.10 per hour, while the regular minimum wage is $1.25 higher at $11.35. One of the reasons the Fair Wages Commission recommended the change to the server wage is that some workers were getting paid that wage and not having the same opportunity to earn tips as others.

“They heard from servers that they may not be serving liquor and may be working in others parts of the restaurant,” said Bains. “There are no real calculations of how much tips are paid. Many customers didn’t even know liquor servers were getting a lower pay.”.

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