The size of your nest egg is dependent on how much time you give your money to compound. Flickr/Creative Commons

The size of your nest egg is dependent on how much time you give your money to compound. Flickr/Creative Commons

B.C. to increase minimum wage to $15.20/hour in 2021

Premier John Horgan says next increase will come in June

The B.C. government has announced the province’s minimum wage will go up to $15.20 an hour in 2021.

““People making minimum wage need to be able to pay rent and put food on the table. People working full time should not be fighting poverty,” Labour Minister Harry Bains told a news conference Thursday at a JJ Bean coffee shop in North Vancouver.” When Toronto raised its minimum wage to $14 an hour earlier this year, the company – which has a location in Toronto – did the same for its Vancouver staff.

The province’s move comes as a result of work done by the fair wages commission, set up last summer to plot out how to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as part of the NDP’s campaign promises.

The commission’s report, released Thursday, recommended “frontloading” the wage hikes to take advantage of B.C.’s strong economy and low unemployment rate. It means the first increase will be the highest, with smaller raises each time until $15.20 is reached.

B.C.’s minimum wage is currently $11.35 an hour – the third highest in Canada.

The next hike will come in June to at least $12.65 an hour. That makes for an increase of $1.30 this year, and $1.20, $0.75 and $0.60 in the next three years.

Asked about how small businesses will cope, Horgan pointed to other savings the NDP has introduced in recent months.

“We’re moving to remove the PST on electricity for businesses… for those who are paying medical services premiums for their employees – that too has been cut in half,” he said.

“What the commission heard is that they want predictability and a time frame to make decisions, shape their human resource planning [and] their operations planning.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses doesn’t agree.

Richard Truscott, the vice-president of B.C. and Alberta operations, said government’s role should be to provide training and job growth opportunities for people trying to get by with low-skilled, minimum wage jobs.

“Small businesses typically operate in competitive markets on very thin margins,” Truscott said. “The $15 minimum wage may be great politics, but it is terrible economic policy.”

BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver had protested about what he had called an “arbitrary” goal of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.

Now with the commission’s report, Weaver he said the plan will help “keep politics out of minimum wage discussions.”

Recommendations for a minimum wage for workers in hospitality, agriculture, resident care and live-in support will come in March. Another report on the discrepancy between the minimum wage and a “liveable wage” is set for later this year.

A liveable wage is considered one that accounts for housing, food, clothing, transportation, recreation, savings and education. The living wage in Metro Vancouver is $20.62 per hour.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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