$15 minimal wage received't be sufficient in Victoria, says chamber of commerce

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In June, minimum wage will reach $12.65, and eventually, in three years, will actually exceed the promise by reaching $15.20.

Premier John Horgan announced Thursday morning that the province has decided to make increases to the minimum wage every year on June 1.

In the near-term, it will go up a $1.30 to $12.65 per hour as of June 1, 2018.

People earning minimum wage can expect a slight increase this summer.

"For too long, the lowest-paid workers in our province have been left to fall behind, with their wages frozen for a decade at a time".

"We proposed the Fair Wages Commission with the goal of depoliticizing the process of setting minimum wage in B.C", Weaver says in a statement. The commission's scaled approach will allow businesses and employers to plan for predictable and stable increases to wages over time.

Premier John Horgan, along with Labour Minister Harry Bains, announced the increase Thursday morning at a coffee shop in North Vancouver.

These recommendations were brought forward by the Fair Wages Commission, after tasking the group to consult with communities across the province.

Advocates for a higher minimum wage in B.C. hope today's announcement from Premier John Horgan grants their wish.

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The NDP government endorsed recommendations from the Fair Wages Commission (FWC).

The three experts who led the Fair Wages Commission recommended predictable and regular hikes and said the hourly wage rate could be raised to $15.40 an hour by 2021, depending on economic conditions.

"It is essential that we ensure changes to the minimum wage are done within the broader context of the changing economy, and in a responsible way that minimizes adverse effects while maximizing benefits to British Columbians". About 4.8 per cent of employees make the current minimum wage of $11.35 an hour.

In 2019, B.C.'s lowest-paid workers will earn $13.85 an hour, $14.60 in 2020 and $15.20 the following year.

Of those earning less than $15 an hour, 52% are over age 25, more than three-quarters are not students, 61% are in coupled families, and over 51% have gone to college/university. Private sector hiring is particularly strong, growing 4.4% a year ago.

Horgan said B.C.is making other changes to help businesses such as eliminating the provincial sales tax on electricity by 2019.

"We're pleased that we finally have a path to 15 and workers know when they are going to get there", she said.

Iglika Ivanova, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives B.C. office, said the increases could have been made faster but that it's good that the largest increases will happen in the first two years.

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