Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Raises Minimum Wage 20 Cents to $10.45; Future Increases Tied to Inflation

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Raises Minimum Wage 20 Cents to $10.45; Future Increases Tied to Inflation

Article excerpt

B.C. hikes minimum wage 20 cents to $10.45

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VANCOUVER - British Columbia announced plans Thursday to increase its minimum wage by 20 cents -- the first change in three years -- while introducing a system to manage the perennial debate over how much the province's lowest-paid workers should receive.

The minimum wage will increase in September to $10.45. The figure was determined by indexing the rate to B.C.'s consumer price index, which will now be used to set future increases.

A separate minimum wage for workers who serve alcohol will rise to $9.20, up from $9.

The province last increased its minimum wage in 2011 after a decade without any changes, and just as they did then, labour unions and anti-poverty advocates dismissed the announcement as paltry.

Business coalitions, on the other hand, commended the government for providing them with predictability for years ahead.

The new plan is revealing substantial differences between how both sides believe poverty should be alleviated in the province

Last fall, an all-party finance committee recommended the government specifically examine the minimum wage to address poverty.

Bond said the wage as just one among a list of government announcements aimed at raising the standard of living for low-income earners.

Last month's budget ended the practice of clawing back income assistance payments to some single parents. Earlier this week, the government increased the amount someone on welfare can earn and introduced a program to allow single parents to stay on income assistance while training for a job.

"We are also doing a number of other things that will support these families moving forward," she told reporters in Victoria, noting the move was more designed to inject certainty for the business community.

"So it was in the context of the bigger agenda."

Bond said the government is implementing policies it expects will help the economy over the next several years, which she predicted would mean the consumer price index would increase and the minimum wage would continue to rise.

B.C. Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger, whose group has called for a $15 minimum wage, described Thursday's announcement as "pathetic. …

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