Minimum wage increase to benefit both employees and economy: Premier John Horgan

11:44am


Image Credit CFJC Today

The three experts who led the Fair Wages Commission recommended predictable and regular hikes and said the hourly wage rate could be raised to $15.40 an hour by 2021, depending on economic conditions.

"If we're going to be competitive, we're going to be able to recruit and retain workers in sectors like hospitality and others that pay, on balance, lower wages, we need to make sure we are competitive with other jurisdictions", he said, noting that both Alberta and Washington State have plans to reach $15 an hour.

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said: "We proposed the Fair Wages Commission with the goal of depoliticizing the process of setting minimum wage in B.C".

Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman said the wage hikes over three years are too quick and she had asked the commission for a five-year implementation to give businesses time to adjust and for all future increases to be indexed to the Consumer Price Index.

On Thursday, the Premier announced the results of the fair wages commission, which he set up after the NDP came to power on a promise to bring the floor up to $15 per hour - eventually.

Alberta is wrapping up a four-year staged minimum wage increase that began in 2015.

The NDP government is hiking BC's minimum wage. If it doesn't ease the plight of low-wage earners, the question of how to make their lives better must still be answered.

The move follows the recommendation of the Fair Wage Commission, struck by the NDP and Greens after they took office previous year. The increases will be $1.30 this year, $1.20 in 2019 and less than a dollar in the following two years.

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He says right now, 400,000 workers in BC are paid less than $15 per hour.

A liveable wage is considered one that accounts for housing, food, clothing, transportation, recreation, savings and education.

Addressing the issue of poverty, he said, will involve more than wages, and many of those earning the minimum wage on the North Shore are not folks feeding their families but rather are part-time employees living at home with well-to-do families.

"It is essential that we ensure changes to the minimum wage are done within the broader context of the changing economy, and in a responsible way that minimizes adverse effects while maximizing benefits to British Columbians".

The first increase on June 1 will see the hourly minimum wage jump $1.30 from $11.35 to $12.65 an hour.

The federation president is calling for the government to move "more decisively" when it comes to minimum wage exemptions for restaurant servers and farmworkers.

Also, the government has plans ahead for child care as part of its commitment to a $10-per day program, among other areas, he said.

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