Minimum wage still too low: B.C. Fed

B.C. Federation of Labour wants another dollar added to bring the wage to $11.25 next fall.

B.C. Federation of Labour vice-president Irene Lanzinger and president Jim Sinclair speak to reporters at the legislature Wednesday.

VICTORIA – The B.C. Federation of Labour campaigned for four years for a $10-an-hour minimum wage, and that will be delivered May 1 when B.C.’s wage goes to $10.25.

But federation president Jim Sinclair visited the legislature Wednesday to tell the B.C. government it’s no longer enough. He wants another increase next fall to $11.25 an hour.

That rate is what is needed to keep up with Statistics Canada’s “low-income cutoff” (LICO), Sinclair told reporters.

Critics often use LICO as a measure of poverty, although the federal agency says it is not, since it is a relative measure that grows along with inflation and economic growth.

“Today the minimum wage is $9.50. That’s the second lowest in Canada, still,” Sinclair said. “Today, if we were at the LICO level, it would be at $11.25 an hour.”

Premier Christy Clark announced in March that the minimum wage would be raised for the first time in a decade, and the $6 an hour “training wage” was abolished. It went from $8 to $8.75 on May 1, and jumped another 75 cents on Nov. 1. A third 75-cent increase takes effect next May 1.

After the increase to $11.25, Sinclair said government should meet with business and labour to decide how the minimum wage should keep up with the cost of living.

B.C. Labour Minister Margaret MacDiarmid met with Sinclair before his news conference Wednesday.

“Our promise is, starting in 2012, to look at our policy,” MacDiarmid said afterwards. But she would make no commitment beyond next May, adding that government policy should aim to make B.C. “a great place to work, and a great place to be an employer.”

Sinclair also blasted what he called Clark’s “dumbest idea,” a lower wage for staff who primarily serve alcohol. That went to $8.50 an hour May 1, $8.75 on Nov. 1 and is set to go to $9 an hour in May 2012. Clark said that measure is similar to the minimum wage system in Ontario, and it reflects higher tips earned by pub, lounge and cabaret workers.

“There’s no rationale for this form of discrimination,” Sinclair said. “It doesn’t apply to anybody else who works in industries where they get tips.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students at Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary kicked off the Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) campaign in 2019. Scott Stanfield photo
Everybody Deserves a Smile campaign adapts to COVID-19 challenges

“We didn’t want to lose our heartfelt hands-on approach.”

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at HMCS Quadra in Comox

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

Courtenay residents will have a substantial schedule change for curbside trash collection beginning in January 2021. (Ben Lypka/Black Press file)
Courtenay moving to a zone system for curbside trash collection

New system means collection days will change with every statutory holiday

A jubilant Ronna-Rae Leonard salutes the crowd at her victory party at the Avalanche Bar & Grill. (photo by Scott Stanfield)
UPDATE: Leonard declared early winner for Courtenay-Comox

NDP incumbent held similar margin of lead throughout the evening

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Jordan Jay Ward, 20, is wanted Canada-wide for manslaughter. (Calgary police photo)
RCMP: Suspicious man seen in Parksville woods resembled manslaughter suspect

Hikers say he resembled Jordan Jay Ward, wanted Canada-wide

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

Most Read