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Coronavirus won’t stop B.C. from hiking minimum wage Monday: Minister

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British Columbia’s Labour Minister says he understands the pressures facing employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but workers are also struggling and the minimum wage will increase as planned on Monday.

The B.C. government announced a series of minimum wage increases in 2018 and the June 1 wage boost goes up 75 cents per hour to $14.60.

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

Harry Bains says Labour Ministry data shows 60 per cent of people earning minimum wage in B .C. are female and 93 per cent of the province’s minimum wage paying jobs are in the service sector, including cleaning services, grocery stores and restaurants.

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He says businesses are able to receive tax breaks and payment deferral options as part of the government’s $5-billion pandemic relief plan, which also includes a $1.5-billion  economic recovery fund.

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READ MORE: How a $15 minimum wage could impact B.C.’s economy

Statistics Canada reported B.C.’s unemployment rate jumped to 11.5 per cent in April, with almost 400,000 lost jobs since March as businesses laid off workers, with some closing permanently.

B.C.’s minimum wage is will go up to $15.20 per hour by June 2021.