Victoria Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 12:30 PM
On June 1, 2023, B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will get a pay raise with the general minimum wage increasing from $15.65 to $16.75 an hour.
“Having a minimum wage that keeps up with inflation is a key step to prevent the lowest paid workers from falling behind,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “These workers and their families feel the impacts of high costs much more than anyone else. We are maintaining our policy of tying the minimum wage to inflation.”
The 6.9% increase in minimum wage rates reflects B.C.’s average annual inflation rate in 2022. The adjustment reflects the government’s commitment to tie annual minimum wage increases to inflation. The same increase will apply to wages for residential caretakers, live-in home-support workers and camp leaders. On Jan. 1, 2024, piece rates for 15 hand-harvested crops will also increase by 6.9%.
“Elevating the minimum wage is a necessary response to inflation. The inflation we are experiencing now in B.C. is driven by profits, not wages,” said Jim Stanford, director, Centre for Future Work. “It is unfair to expect the most vulnerable workers to give up some of their non-discretionary income because of record high inflation. By ensuring fairer compensation for our lowest-paid workers, we will reduce inequality and foster a more inclusive society.”
The increase will positively affect approximately 150,000 workers who earn less than $16.75. Many are food service staff, grocery store workers, retail workers and others who were essential workers during the pandemic.
The government has made regular, gradual increases to the minimum wage to provide certainty for workers and predictability for businesses. Overall, B.C.’s minimum wage has increased from one of the lowest in the country to one of the highest. The minimum wage was $10.45 per hour in 2015.
Marissa Iacobucci, private liquor store employee –
“Until recently, I worked for many years for minimum wage and the increases over the past five years made a big difference to me and my community. A lot of my friends and co-workers are still making minimum wage and I guarantee this increase will make a huge difference for them, especially with the basics like food and rent that are increasing along with inflation.”
Sam Jones, owner, of 2% Jazz Coffee, and founding member, of Bread and Butter Collective on Vancouver Island –
“Successful, sustainable businesses provide fair compensation for valued employees. Especially in the hospitality sector, increasing the minimum wage helps level the playing field for small businesses that pay a living wage – such as myself. An even playing field where workers’ and employers’ needs are being met is what small businesses, employees and our customers need right now.”
- The Government of Canada announced an increase to the minimum wage for federally regulated employees from $15.55 to $16.65 on April 1, 2023.
- To date, most jurisdictions in Canada have indicated they will be increasing their minimum wage this year, except for Alberta and Nunavut.
- At least eight other jurisdictions also base their minimum wage increases on annual changes to the Consumer Price Index.
- The increase to the minimum wage is based on B.C.’s average inflation rate in 2022, which was 6.9%. This represents $1.08 or 6.9% of the current minimum wage. Rounded to the nearest nickel, as is common practice in B.C. and in other jurisdictions, the increase will be $1.10 per hour, from $15.65 to $16.75.
- In 2022, B.C. increased the minimum wage by 2.8%, which was the increase in the cost of living in the province in 2021. This is a common practice in B.C. and other jurisdictions.
For more information about the increase, visit the Employment Standards Branch website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/wages/minimum-wage
For more information on TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/initiatives-plans-strategies/poverty-reduction-strategy/togetherbc.pdf
To see minimum wages across Canada as of April 4, 2023, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Minimum_Wages_in_Canada_April_4_2023.pdf
A backgrounder follows.
The minimum wage in British Columbia (per hour): 2001 to present
2002-2010: no increases
2011: $8.75, then $9.50
2013: no increase
2014: no increase
June 1, 2023: $16.75