Media Contacts

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training

and Responsible for Labour
250 387-2799


Profile of minimum wage earners in British Columbia

The number of B.C. employees earning minimum wage or less in 2015 was 93,700 out of a total of 1,892,700 paid employees (excluding self-employed).

The percentage of people earning minimum wage declined from 7.5% in 2012 to 5% in 2015.  The national average for people earning minimum wage is 7.1%.

Statistical breakdown of those earning minimum wage in 2015:

By Age, Gender & Education

  • 53,600 or 57% were youth aged 15 to 24 years;
  • 10,900 or 12% were aged 55 years or older;
  • 55,700 or 59% were female; and
  • 30,100 or 32% did not have high school graduation while 11,500 or 12% had a university degree.

By Industry, Job Type & Firm Size

  • 86,800 or 93% were in the service sector;
  • 27,200 or 29% were in trade (including retail trade);
  • 29,900 or 32% were in accommodation and food services; 
  • 40,500 or 43% worked full time and 53,200 or 57% worked part time;
  • 16,900 or 18% had been in their job for three months or less;
  • 43,700 or 47% had been in their job for at least one year;
  • 29,800 or 32% worked in businesses with less than 20 employees; and
  • 40,600 or 43% worked in businesses with more than 500 employees.

By Family Status

  • 21,900 or 23% were a member of a couple;
  • 7,400 or 8% were the head of a family with spouse present;
  • 12,100 or 13% lived as “unattached” (without a spouse or family member); and
  • 51,700 or 55% lived with their parents, and 47% of those were attending school.
Supporting British Columbia’s small businesses

Government’s ongoing dialogue with the small business community has helped identify opportunities to support growth and job creation. There are five consistent themes that emerge through this ongoing dialogue:

  • the need for assistance with training;
  • a simplified regulatory environment
  • business planning to support growth and expansion
  • help with financing; and
  • a competitive tax climate.

Training Support

  • The Canada - B.C. Jobs Grant has provided over $29 million in training funds to employers to train current or existing employees. The majority of these recipients have been small businesses.
  • The Aboriginal BEST Fund – a partnership between the provincial government, the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement and Vancity Credit Union – provides free job creation and skills training to help to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of people, communities, and organizations.
  • The Province has supported Junior Achievement BC to educate over 35,000 young British Columbians about business. Programs are delivered free of charge by volunteers from local business communities, who bring real-life experience into the classroom.
  • Through its partnership with Futurpreneur, the Province supports volunteers in providing financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18 to 39 years.

Red Tape Reduction

  • OneStop Business Registry provides online access to common business registrations and transactions with all three levels of government. OneStop reduces the steps and frustration involved in registering a business, renewing liquor licenses, changing your business address, and promotes the use of the Business Number as the one common identifier for business with public and private sector partners.
  • BizPal is a partnership with over 129 community partners in B.C., that cuts through the paperwork burden and red tape small business owners encounter, helping them focus on business growth and job creation.
  • The Mobile Business Licence program streamlines and simplifies the licensing process, making it easier to do business in British Columbia by allowing small businesses to operate across 73 participating jurisdictions.
  • The Red Tape Reduction button on the government website allows small business owners and citizens throughout B.C. to submit their ideas on how government can reduce red tape 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Business Planning

  • The Province partners with Small Business BC to provide comprehensive small business information, products and services, assisting business owners with planning, marketing, human resources, financing and website development and many other topics related to starting and growing a business in B.C.
  • The BC Farm Advisory Services Program supports basic financial analyses and specialized business planning that enables agricultural producers to make more informed decisions and strengthen their farm business.

Access to Financing

  • The Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit encourages investors to make equity capital investments in B.C. small businesses, in order to give small businesses access to early-stage venture capital to help them develop and grow. The credit has been increased by $5 million for a total of $35 million available to B.C.’s small businesses annually.
  • The First Citizens Fund supports cultural, educational and economic development for Aboriginal people in British Columbia. In 2001, B.C. doubled the net value of the fund from $36 million to $72 million; interest earned from fund investments supports programs and services to improve the lives of Aboriginal people.
  • The B.C. government has invested $8 million in the Buy Local Program, including $2 million in Budget 2016. The program supports food security in B.C. and helps B.C. farmers and food processors promote their local agrifood and seafood products through buy local initiatives.

Competitive Taxation

  • The Tax Commission on Competitveness announced as part of Budget 2016 will help consider how government addresses issues raised by the small business sector.
  • Through Greenhouse Carbon Tax Relief Grants, the Province has provided carbon tax relief to commercial vegetable, floriculture, wholesale nursery and forest seedling greenhouses since 2012, covering 80% of the carbon tax paid on natural gas and propane used for greenhouse heating and C02 production.

For more information about these and other resources available to support small businesses in B.C., visit:

Media Assets

These assets are subject to the terms of the News Footage License - British Columbia.