B.C.’s minimum wage jumped again May 1, the third increase from a year ago, putting B.C. on par with Ontario for having the highest minimum wage in the country.
The wage tops out at $10.25 an hour, after three increases the past year brought it from the lowest in the country at $8 an hour.
The minimum wage in most provinces is about $10 an hour.
While the increase is good for workers, it makes it tougher for businesses that have to find room on their balance sheets.
Workers who serve alcohol, however, don’t get quite the boost.
Their wage only climbs to $9, in recognition of the money earned in tips.
So far that’s OK with staff at the Jolly Coachman in Pitt Meadows.
“They’re just happy for any increase. I don’t hear any grumbling for increase between servers and non-servers,” says Debbie Pearson, general manager at the pub.
She adds that it would be nice to have a student wage, maybe about $8 an hour for kids still in high school and living at home who are working beside adults making the same wage.
Judging by an ad last week for counter staff, the Tim Hortons restaurant in Pitt Meadows is already paying close to minimum wage. The wage posted was $10.14 an hour, meaning an increase of only 11 cents was needed to bring it to the new May 1 minimum.
At Canterbury Kitchens, where they make cabinetry, the minimum wage isn’t a factor. The business starts people at between $13 and $17 an hour, plus benefits.
And at BW Creative Wood Industries, seasonal or entry level workers already were getting about $10 an hour. Every spring, the business hires between 20 and 30 workers, many of them students, to keep up with the demand for outside wood railings. Most of the product, 80 per cent is exported to either the U.S. or Europe.
However, the higher wage could make it tougher to get people because more businesses must pay that wage, said Rob Mitchell, with BW.
“It’s brought their wages up to the same range as ours. We’re anticipating more competition for the entry-level person.”
That has the company, in turn, considering boosting its entry level wage beyond the minimum.
The new minimum wage was announced last year by incoming Premier Christy Clark.
Non-hourly rates paid to camp leaders, live-in home support workers and resident caretakers will be adjusted at the same time in proportion to the increase in minimum wage.
“British Columbians who made $8 per hour last year, could now have more than an additional $4,000 in their pockets this year. That’s good news for individuals and families- and that’s good news for the economy,” said Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid.
Andrew Klukas, acting president, Western Convenience Stores Association said he appreciated the incremental, predictable approach to the increases.