Minimum wage still too low: B.C. Fed

B.C. Federation of Labour wants another dollar added to bring the wage to $11.25 next fall.

B.C. Federation of Labour vice-president Irene Lanzinger and president Jim Sinclair speak to reporters at the legislature Wednesday.

B.C. Federation of Labour vice-president Irene Lanzinger and president Jim Sinclair speak to reporters at the legislature Wednesday.

VICTORIA – The B.C. Federation of Labour campaigned for four years for a $10-an-hour minimum wage, and that will be delivered May 1 when B.C.’s wage goes to $10.25.

But federation president Jim Sinclair visited the legislature Wednesday to tell the B.C. government it’s no longer enough. He wants another increase next fall to $11.25 an hour.

That rate is what is needed to keep up with Statistics Canada’s “low-income cutoff” (LICO), Sinclair told reporters.

Critics often use LICO as a measure of poverty, although the federal agency says it is not, since it is a relative measure that grows along with inflation and economic growth.

“Today the minimum wage is $9.50. That’s the second lowest in Canada, still,” Sinclair said. “Today, if we were at the LICO level, it would be at $11.25 an hour.”

Premier Christy Clark announced in March that the minimum wage would be raised for the first time in a decade, and the $6 an hour “training wage” was abolished. It went from $8 to $8.75 on May 1, and jumped another 75 cents on Nov. 1. A third 75-cent increase takes effect next May 1.

After the increase to $11.25, Sinclair said government should meet with business and labour to decide how the minimum wage should keep up with the cost of living.

B.C. Labour Minister Margaret MacDiarmid met with Sinclair before his news conference Wednesday.

“Our promise is, starting in 2012, to look at our policy,” MacDiarmid said afterwards. But she would make no commitment beyond next May, adding that government policy should aim to make B.C. “a great place to work, and a great place to be an employer.”

Sinclair also blasted what he called Clark’s “dumbest idea,” a lower wage for staff who primarily serve alcohol. That went to $8.50 an hour May 1, $8.75 on Nov. 1 and is set to go to $9 an hour in May 2012. Clark said that measure is similar to the minimum wage system in Ontario, and it reflects higher tips earned by pub, lounge and cabaret workers.

“There’s no rationale for this form of discrimination,” Sinclair said. “It doesn’t apply to anybody else who works in industries where they get tips.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – check point at Manning Park

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

Dr. Bonnie Henry B.C.'s provincial health officer, updates the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
Province ‘ramping up’ COVID-19 vaccination effort in hard-hit Surrey

‘Door-to-door’ registration program in the works, says Dr. Bonnie Henry

Serena Deol, Jaspreet Deol, Madison Sweeney and Tanveer Pannu (pictured clockwise from top left) are Surrey United soccer players recruited to the University of Fraser Valley. (submitted photos)
Surrey United soccer quartet sign to play for UFV Cascades

Three of the university’s recruits are Panorama Ridge Secondary students

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

White Rock’s Joan Bywater shows the setup she uses when participating in online paint parties hosted by the Seniors Come Share Society. (Contributed photo)
PHOTOS: Virtual gallery showcases inspirations of Semiahmoo Peninsula seniors

‘What is art if not something that motivates more art?’

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read