Tuesday May 31, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Molly Pearce | Island Social Trends
Tomorrow British Columbians will see an increase to the minimum wage. That makes the BC minimum wage the highest of any Canadian province.
The minimum hourly wage in BC will increase from $15.20 to $15.65 effective June 1, 2022. The wage increase is in keeping with the average annual inflation rate in the province in 2021 which was 2.8%.
The wage increase follows the BC government’s five-year plan to ensure the financial security of the province’s lowest-paid workers and their families, which began in 2018. The first years of the plan saw steady increases to the hourly minimum wage from $11.35 on September 15, 2017 to $15.20 on June 1, 2021.
In 2017, BC had the lowest minimum wage of any province in Canada despite its being one of the most expensive provinces to live in.
Workers who earn minimum wage may welcome the increase, but the question of what constitutes a living wage in BC remains. Minimum wage workers who feel acutely what it costs to support a family in cities on Vancouver Island and elsewhere in the province might question just how locally specific BC’s minimum wage is.
Meanwhile, employers today might hope that higher wages will help them to acquire and retain better employees. They may also be wary of what the increases will cost their businesses in the long run.
The BC government calculates that the past five years of steady wage increases has benefited about 400,000 workers in this province. The government also figures that women, immigrants, and young workers have benefited the most from the increases. It is calculated that women made up 58% of workers earning minimum wage or less in BC in 2021. Overall, 6% of BC workers earned minimum wage or less last year.
Workers receiving minimum and low wages have contributed greatly to the well being of British Columbians over the past two years as the province grappled with the impacts of the pandemic. The government says that it is committed to advocating for fair wages for workers whose jobs are essential to our communities.
The wage increase will also apply to live-in home-support workers and to live-in camp leaders who earn a minimum daily wage, and to resident caretakers who earn a minimum monthly wage due to the circumstances of their work.
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