British Columbia’s minimum wage is the highest among the provinces in Canada, and it is about to go even higher.
The province announced on Monday it is linking minimum wage increases to inflation, meaning that the wage will jump to $15.65 per hour on June 1, up from $15.20 an hour.
“This is so wages keep pace in a predictable way. This provides certainty for businesses as well,” Minister of Labour Harry Bains said Monday.
“This better reflects the challenges for workers. Workers need to be able to keep up with cost of living.”
The annual increases will be based on the average inflation increase of the year before.
In 2021, six per cent of employees in B.C. earned minimum wage or less. Of those, 52 per cent were over the age of 25 and 58 per cent were women.
Even with the increases, B.C. is still well short of a living wage. In Metro Vancouver, it’s $20.52 per hour.
The province said they’re waiting on a report from the Fair Wages Commission before making a final decision on whether future increases could be higher than inflation.
“We fully understand businesses are hurting and workers are still struggling living with some of the highest costs,” Bains said.
“There is no link of job losses to minimum wage. We are now the highest (of the provinces) and our economy is one of the best in the country. We have 84,000 more workers working than pre-COVID.”
Over the past five years, B.C.’s general minimum wage has gone up from $11.35 to $15.65 per hour.
As of June 1, an increase of 2.8 per cent will also apply to the live-in camp leader and live-in home support worker minimum daily wages.
“The increases to the minimum wage over the past few years have made a huge difference to me and my family,” Agnes Estimo, a cleaner at the Metrotown shopping mall in Burnaby, said.
“I appreciate very much these timely changes, considering the inflation happening, but it also makes me feel valued and appreciated.”
Editor’s note: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated B.C. had the highest minimum wage in the country and that it was the first province to tie its minimum wage increases to inflation.