Minimum wage earners could be up for a raise.
The Ministry of Labour says discussions are underway to raise the minimum wage beyond the currently scheduled annual boost.
Last year, the province upped minimum wage from $10.25 to $10.45. It also said future increases, scheduled annually for September, would be tied to inflation.
The ministry says thanks to strong economic growth, it is looking at a “modest incremental adjustment” beyond the rate of inflation.
“We are not making any announcement tomorrow but we expect to announce a minimum wage increase this spring, with the new rate coming into effect
Sept. 15, 2016,” said Minister of Labour Shirley Bond in a statement this evening.
However, it’s keeping any actual numbers close to its chest and says any increase must strike a balance between helping workers but not holding back business’ growth.
B.C. has the second lowest minimum wage in the country, behind New Brunswick where it sits at $10.30.
Dollars vs. cents
Whatever the potential increase, it seems unlikely to satisfy labour activists who have been calling for minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour.
“It can’t be 20 cents. It can’t be 30 cents like it’s been in the past.”
BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger says nickle and dime changes to the minimum wage simply won’t be enough.
She says nearly a third of B-C workers are pulling in under $15 an hour, a figure she says is the floor when it comes to fair pay.
“The government needs to commit to a $15 minimum wage. That’s the number that lifts workers above the poverty line.”
She says she’s still waiting to see what the province is offering, but there’s no reason why B.C. can’t follow the lead of Alberta, LA, and New York State who’ve all moved to the $15 minimum.