Home Business & Economy Business & Economy BC minimum wage rising to $16.75 at June 1


BC minimum wage rising to $16.75 at June 1

The increase is $1.10 per hour

Wednesday April 5, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

The minimum wage in British Columbia will increase by $1.10 per hour to $16.75 per hour starting June 1, 2023.

The announcement was made by Labour Minister Harry Bains and the Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation (JEDI), Brenda Bailey.

harry bains
Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, addressed media at a local coffee shop in Victoria on April 5, 2023. [livestream]

Bains emphasized that BC is not immune to global inflation. “The cost of living has increased quickly,” said Bains, noting that the increase has been greater in BC than the national average.

BC wants “to ensure that the lowest paid workers don’t fall further behind”, said Bains. He noted that from businesses he hears most often that they have a problem attracting and retaining workers.

Affordability credits:

He mentioned the third of three Affordability Credits so far, being disbursed to low- and moderate-income Canadians today and over the next few days.

The BC average rate of inflation in 2022 was 6.9%. This is quite a jump from the 2% to 3% range (or even lower) of the last several years.

Minister Bains is looking at some new data which will be used to determine how next year’s minimum wage increase (for June 1, 2024) might be flexibly tied to inflation, to help deal with sudden spikes in inflation as has been seen in the last 12 months in Canada.

brenda bailey
Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, Brenda Bailey, April 5, 2023 in Victoria. [livestream]

He deflected a question about establishing a basic livable income.

BC economy ‘built to succeed’:

As did Bains, Minister Bailey referenced global inflation and supply chain change as impacting the cost of everything. She highlighted that more women are coming into the workplace which she attributed to the availability of child care, and that jobs in BC are “good paying, family-supporting”.

“BC has an economy built to succeed,” said JEDI Minister Bailey. She says she is in close contact with small busineses, and that “when industry and government work together” that produces the best results.


BC minimum wage over the years:

The hourly minimum wage in British Columbia has doubled in the last 22 years. In several of those years under the former BC Liberal government there were no increases (2002-2010, 2013 and 2014). The NDP government since 2017 has moved the minimum wage up in line with getting closer to a living wage. Here is the profile for 2001 to 2023:

21st Century BC Minimum Wage (per hour) – 2001 to 2023

  • First decade: 2001: $8.00 | 2002-2010: no increases [note: financial crash/recession in 2008/09 for which recovery took several years]
  • Second decade: 2011: $8.75, then $9.50 | 2012: $10.25 | 2013 & 2014: no increase | 2015: $10.45 | 2016: $10.85 | 2017: $11.35 | 2018: $12.65 | 2019: $13.85
  • Third decade: 2020: $14.60 | 2021: $15.20 | 2022: $15.65 | June 1, 2023: $16.75
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Small vs corporate:

Today’s event was hosted at a small coffee shop in the Hillside area of Victoria.

2% jazz, coffee shop
Sam Jones is the owner of 2% Jazz Coffee on Hillside Ave in Victoria. [livestream – Apr 5, 2023]

2% Jazz Coffee shop owner Sam Jones pointed out that larger corporate entities (especially those that are US-based) can “exploit workers” by paying them the lowest possible wage and that they can keep prices lower for a longer period of time as a way to build up a customer base.

Jones believes that small businesses are well suited to providing value.

He pointed out that hard work, respect for workers (including fair wages) and being part of the community are key elements to small business success. Those factors make for a stronger business and happier workers, which leads to “great exceptional service”, he said today.

Jones works to being part of “creating a fair and just economy”. His coffee outlet business has four locations in the Greater Victoria area: Hillside Avenue in Victoria, Belleville Street in downtown Victoria, Quarry Street in Colwood (west shore), and out in Saanichton on Veyaness Rd.

Minimum wage in BC and Canada:

  • The Government of Canada announced an increase to the minimum wage for federally regulated employees from $15.55 to $16.65 on April 1, 2023.
  • To date, most jurisdictions in Canada have indicated they will be increasing their minimum wage this year, except for Alberta and Nunavut.
  • At least eight other jurisdictions also base their minimum wage increases on annual changes to the Consumer Price Index.
  • The increase to the minimum wage is based on B.C.’s average inflation rate in 2022, which was 6.9%. This represents $1.08 or 6.9% of the current minimum wage. Rounded to the nearest nickel, as is common practice in B.C. and in other jurisdictions, the increase will be $1.10 per hour, from $15.65 to $16.75.
  • In 2022, B.C. increased the minimum wage by 2.8%, which was the increase in the cost of living in the province in 2021. This is a common practice in B.C. and other jurisdictions.
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mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications by founder/editor Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, covering news of the Vancouver Island region, BC and national issues through a socioeconomic lens.

The publication series began with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then morphed to a weekly print newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and then into the weekly PDF/print West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). The news at IslandSocialTrends.ca (2020 to present) is entirely online.

The mission statement from day one in 2008 has been to contribute to a knowledge-based economy and society, as a way to improve conditions for people and communities.

Among many other qualifications, Mary Brooke holds a B.Sc. in Foods & Nutrition, as well as Certificate in Public Relations, and an industry certificate in digital marketing. She reports with the BC Press Gallery.