(Unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories — Vancouver, BC) Today’s minimum wage increase announcement will give BC’s lowest-paid workers a much-needed raise, and help them keep up with the cost of living, said BCFED President Sussanne Skidmore today.
“Every extra cent makes a difference to minimum-wage earners. Inflation has hit necessities like groceries especially hard, so it’s heartening to see our government act to prevent the cost of living from eroding workers’ wages,” Skidmore said.
“BC is one of the most expensive provinces in Canada,” she added, “so it makes sense that we continue to have the highest minimum wage of any province. But we still have a lot of work to do to close the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage,” the amount a family needs to cover basic expenses.
BCFED Secretary-Treasurer Hermender Singh Kailley commended the government for tying the minimum wage to inflation. “Kevin Falcon’s Liberals froze the minimum wage for a decade and never caught up, letting workers fall further and further behind — the same workers who could afford it least,” he said. He added the increase will be especially helpful for racialized workers, Indigenous workers and women, who disproportionately work in low-income positions.
Skidmore urged the government to extend minimum wage protection so it covers all workers. “No matter where you are in BC, you should be able to earn a wage that can let you live and work in your community,” she said.
The BCFED’s multi-year Fight for 15 campaign united labour, community organizations and workers to make a successful case for increasing the minimum wage, culminating in BC becoming the first province with a minimum wage above $15 in 2021. Last spring, the provincial government announced it would tie the minimum wage to inflation.