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B.C. minimum wage going up to $15.65, highest among provinces

Rate tied to inflation, 2.8% increase based on 2021 prices
Liquor servers in B.C. were paid a discounted minimum wage until June 2021. (Peace Arch News photo)

B.C.’s minimum wage increases to $15.65 per hour on June 1, a 45-cent increase based on last year’s relatively modest inflation rate that gives the province the highest minimum wage of any Canadian province.

The latest increase also includes to live-in camp leaders and live-in home support workers, as well as the minimum monthly wage of resident caretakers. A year ago, the NDP government extended the full minimum wage to liquor servers, who were paid a lower wage under the previous government’s system because of their income from tips.

Small business and agriculture employers have warned about the side effects of a steep increase in B.C.’s minimum wage, which took place during a long period of low inflation that has since soared above six per cent in Canada. The latest increase comes as employers emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic are experiencing staff shortages, particularly in service industry jobs, as gasoline, groceries and other staples rise steeply in price.

B.C.’s minimum wage stood at $10.25 until 2014, when former premier Christy Clark raised it to $10.45 and implemented the $1.50 discount for liquor servers.

The current rate of $15.65 is the highest among provinces, with Alberta and Ontario at $15, Quebec at $14.25 and Saskatchewan and Manitoba at just below $12. Only Yukon at $15.70 and Nunavut at $16 have a higher minimum hourly wage.

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