B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains (Black Press)

Most B.C. minimum wage earners ‘aren’t poor,’ report says

Four out of five live with parents or a higher-wage earner

As B.C. prepares to increase its minimum wage to $12.65 an hour on June 1, a new study suggests that it will do little to reduce poverty.

More than 84 per cent of B.C.’s minimum wage earners don’t live in low-income families, the Fraser Institute found in an analysis of federal low-income statistics that define poverty in Canada.

In 2017, more than 55 per cent of minimum wage earners in B.C. were aged 15 to 24, and 78 per cent of them lived with parents or other relatives.

And more than 22 per cent of the same group had an employed spouse, of which 93.1 per cent earned more than the minimum wage or were self-employed. Only two per cent of minimum wage earners were single parents with young children.

“Contrary to widely held misperceptions, the vast majority of minimum age earners in B.C. aren’t poor, and they are rarely the primary or sole income earner in their household,” said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute. “The majority are, in fact, teenagers and young adults living with their parents.”

The June 1 increase from $11.35 to $12.65 an hour is part of the B.C. NDP government’s pledge to raise the minimum wage in steps to $15.20 by 2021. That’s a 34 per cent increase in three years, and it meets a long-standing demand of the B.C. Federation of Labour that the minimum wage reach $15 an hour.

Labour Minister Harry Bains announced in April that the lower minimum wage for liquor servers is also being phased out, with larger increases until it matches the general hourly rate in 2021.

RELATED: Small businesses expect to cut staff

The latest increase comes as the B.C. government is under pressure from business groups about its health care payroll tax. Finance Minister Carole James disputed a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade study that said two thirds of small businesses said they expect to pay the tax. The employer health tax is being phased in starting January 2019.

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

McDermid Creek fire registered at 70ha

A wildfire burning approximately 6 kilometres west of the Morrissey area is… Continue reading

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

UPDATE: Fire forces closures and delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

Motorists should detour using Kootenay Lake ferry

Bisaro Anima cavers return from expedition

22 cavers spent a week logging 150 surface sinks, rifts and holes, and mapped 1km of new passages

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Smoke scraps Nelson’s MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Most Read