June 1 boost to B.C.'s minimum wage raises it to highest in Canada: ministry

·2 min read

VICTORIA — The minimum wage in British Columbia jumps to $15.20 an hour on June 1, making it the highest rate of any province in Canada.

A statement from the Ministry of Labour says the rate climbs 60 cents per hour Tuesday, while the minimum wage for liquor servers will increase $1.25 per hour to match the minimum wage.

Labour Minister Harry Bains says the New Democrat government has kept its 2017 promise to provide regular, measured, predictable increases to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour by June 2021.

The change also erases the lower minimum wage for liquor servers, ending what the Labour Ministry says was a discriminatory salary that disproportionally affected women.

The statement says B.C. has one of the highest costs of living in Canada and one of the lowest minimum wages when the increases began four years ago.

Future minimum wage increases will be tied to inflation starting in 2022.

Incremental raises since 2017 have given businesses time to prepare for each one, offering them stability and certainty, the ministry says.

Other increases include a more than $5-per-day boost in the minimum daily salary for a live-in camp leader, while the minimum monthly wage for a resident caretaker climbs to $912.28 plus $36.56 per suite for managers handling nine to 60 residential units.

The minimum monthly salary for a resident caretaker responsible for more than 61 suites increases to $3,107.42 on June 1.

About 121,000 people, roughly six per cent of the workforce, earned the previous minimum wage of $14.60, or less, last year, the ministry statement says.

A further 12 per cent, nearly 245,000 employees, earned under $15.20 per hour in 2020, says the ministry.

Rosario Agustin, a janitor in Vancouver, says the increases since 2017 have been important because the cost of living across the Lower Mainland is so high.

"I have worked at a skyscraper downtown for over 15 years, and most of that time I was making minimum wage and supporting my family as a single mom," Agustin says in the statement.

"The minimum going up helps raise the bar for all of us."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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