BC’s minimum wage will be getting a boost in September.
“This year, it will be a 40 cent increase effective September 15,” says Premier Christy Clark.”And then a then further increase next year of about 40 cents as well, which will put us at about 3rd for minimum wage across the country. That means that British Columbians will be earning $11.25.”
According to Statistics Canada, $11.25 will actually put Canada in 4th place for minimum wage, behind Nunavut, North West Territories and Ontario as of this fall.
Clark cited a robust economy and rosy outlook as driving factors for the increase.
“We want to make sure that everybody shares in that dividend,” she says. “There is a reason to balance the budget and that’s so that we can create a fairer more just society. And that’s why we’re raising the minimum wage over and above the Consumer Price Index.”
The boost will mean about $1,400 more a year for full time workers making minimum wage.
Discussions around increasing the minimum wage often focus on the impact to small business, which make up 89% of businesses in BC, according to Clark. She says her government has a plan to support small business owners in making the change.
“I want to reaffirm today our commitment to lower the small business tax rate from 2.5% to 1.5% – that’s a reduction of 40%,” says Clark. “It’s one thing to raise the minimum wage but it’s also important that people are able to find a job. That means that we need to continue to support small business.”
Clark also announced increased funding for jobs training.
“We’re also announcing 2.88 million in new training programs to help address labour shortages. $2 million of that will cover 100% of the training costs for businesses that hire an unemployed person because we want people who are outside the workforce to find their way in.”
$300,000 will be spent targeting youth employment through the Canada Job Grant program and another $80,000 will be spent helping small businesses assess their training needs.
BC’s current minimum wage is the lowest in the country. The average hourly wage for British Columbians is $25.12 per hour. For youth, the average hourly wage is $14.50 as of March, 2016.