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B.C. new minimum wage to $15.65 per hour an increase of 54 cent pushed up by inflation

The hourly wage will increase by 45 cents on June 1st, according to Labour Minister Harry Bains.

The hike is the first to be linked to the annual inflation rate in British Columbia, which was 2.8% last year.

The decision to use the provincial rate of inflation instead of the national rate according to Bains, to better reflect the requirements of B.C. workers.

According to him, the rise is meant to bring more workers to the province while providing certainty of costs for businesses.

“We fully understand that businesses are still hurting coming out of the pandemic and that workers, living in one of the highest living cost areas, are still struggling,” Bains told a news conference.

“Having a fair minimum wage is a key step in our effort to lift people out of poverty, to make life more affordable and to continue B.C.’s strong economic recovery.”

The B.C. Federation of Labour said it was happy with the news, but the minimum wage is “still well below” the amount a family needs to cover basic expenses.

“Every worker should be able to earn a wage that makes their community affordable and livable, no matter where they live in B.C.,” Sussanne Skidmore, the federation’s secretary-treasurer, said in a news release.

Fiona Famulak, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, said it “strongly supports” fair wages for workers but is concerned about the timing of the announcement.

“British Columbia already has the highest minimum wage among the 10 provinces and it will be our small- and medium-size businesses that will again bear the brunt of this increased cost the most,” she said in an emailed statement.

“At a time when businesses are reeling from rising costs resulting from the pandemic, supply chain issues, B.C.’s paid sick leave program and historic gas prices, we strongly believe that any minimum wage increase must be considered against all the costs, levies and taxes that have already been imposed on businesses by government.”

According to Bains, a commission toured the province consulting businesses and others affected by the minimum wage, and the group recommended the hike. He stated that the government is still awaiting the commission’s recommendations in order to fix the disparity between the minimum wage and “living wage.”

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