Unifor welcomes BC $15 minimum wage timeline

11 Febrero, 2018, 00:33 | Author: Arnold Perez
  • 11:44am


Image Credit CFJC Today

Alberta is wrapping up a four-year staged minimum wage increase that began in 2015.

Last summer, the B.C. NDP postponed the 2021 target promised during last spring's provincial election so an independent review panel - the Fair Wages Commission - could consider the timeline between the current $11.35 and $15.20 an hour.

For companies who are unsure they will be able to pay their employees, Horgan says they are looking into ways to help them.

"We'd love to hear from businesses out there who this is going to impact and we'd like to make sure the government hears from them so they can make any adjustments as we move forward in the next few years". We cut it in half in the last budget, and we are going to eliminate it entirely by 2019.

The increases will be $1.30 this year, $1.20 in 2019 and less than a dollar in the following two years. "The fact is it's good for the economy to raise the wages of low wage workers".

"Skyrocketing costs of living in most parts of British Columbia demands a $15 minimum wage", said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director.

Addressing the issue of poverty, he said, will involve more than wages, and many of those earning the minimum wage on the North Shore are not folks feeding their families but rather are part-time employees living at home with well-to-do families. "Which creates more economic activity, so, more money in the pockets of citizens means more economic activity, which means more small business development".

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While BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger said she's glad about the planned increases but disappointed the timeline is too slow, Premier John Horgan characterized the government's plan as a "methodical, thoughtful and balanced approach to raising minimum wages here in British Columbia".

"I believe we've made significant progress and I'm certain that those that are making the minimum wage today will feel better [in June] of this year, and again the year after that and the year after that", Horgan said.

He says right now, 400,000 workers in BC are paid less than $15 per hour.

94,000 minimum-wage earners in B.C. will see a benefit from June's rate hike. Yet, B.C.is a low-wage province and average wages are below the national average.

The mark will be in effect in Alberta Oct. 1, and in Ontario on January 1, 2019.

A 13 per cent increase in wages this year will be a hard hit for many restaurants, Tostenson said, adding that delaying this year's hike until September would have helped. "I am especially concerned that this may be the straw that breaks some of them", board-of-trade CEO Anita Huberman said in a statement.

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