VICTORIA - The B.C. government is indexing increases in the general minimum hourly wage and liquor server wage to B.C.’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), Minister for Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and Minister Responsible for Labour, Shirley Bond announced today.
The government is committed to reasonable and predictable yearly minimum wage increases linked to B.C. CPI. Going forward, from 2016 onward, the minimum wage will be determined using a formula calculated upon the percentage the B.C. Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased in the previous calendar year. In years where there is a negative CPI change, the minimum wage would stay the same.
In addition, this indexing formula is being applied to the period since the last minimum wage increase in 2012. Effective Sept. 15, 2015, the general minimum hourly wage will increase from $10.25 to $10.45 and the liquor server wage from $9.00 to $9.20 per hour.
The daily rate for live-in home support workers and live-in camp leaders, as well as the monthly rates for resident caretakers and the farm worker piece rates (for harvesters of certain fruits and vegetables) are increased proportionate to the 20-cent increase in the general minimum hourly wage. All of the new rates will take effect on Sept. 15, 2015.
Government will announce the yearly increase to the minimum wage in March to take effect Sept. 15 each year, giving businesses the necessary lead time to implement the new minimum wage without undue hardship.
Currently in B.C., people earning minimum wage represent 110,400 employees, or 5.9% of the paid workforce, below the national average of 7.2%. Of those B.C. employees earning minimum wage during 2014:
- 100,800 (91%) worked in the service producing sector.
- 62,500 (57%) were part time workers.
- 7,800 (7%) were defined as being the head of the family.
- 57,800 (52%) lived with their parents.
- Of the minimum wage earners living with their parents, 47% were attending school.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour -
“Raising the minimum wage allows B.C. to keep pace with minimum wages in the rest of Canada while maintaining our competitiveness. We remain focused on our plan to grow B.C.’s diverse economy to encourage investment that leads to high-paying, family supporting jobs.”
“We continue to work hard to remove barriers and open up new opportunities to move people up the income ladder. Increasing the minimum wage is one of many tools, including tax policy, social supports, education and training that help British Columbians. This week we announced a new Single Parent Employment Initiative with significant changes to the income and disability assistance program that will help single parents transition into the workforce by allowing them to stay on assistance for up to 12 months while they train for their new job. We’ve also raised the earning exemption for families on income assistance, allowing a person to earn more money from a job without jeopardizing their full provincial support payments.”
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business -
“Small businesses told us they want the minimum wage increase to be reasonable and predictable, which is why we implemented a formula-based approach tied to economic indicators.”
Audio of Yamamoto’s quote: http://ow.ly/KdRxj
- B.C.’s average hourly wage is fourth-highest in the country at $24.91 and has been increasing for the last 10 years.
- At 5.6%, B.C.’s unemployment rate is third lowest in the country.
- The youth unemployment rate is 10.6% and is also third-lowest in the country.
- The average hourly youth wage is $14.86.
- 5.9% of B.C.’s paid workforce earn minimum wage, below the national average of 7.2%.
- The 5.9% of people earning minimum wage represents 110,400 BC employees.
- 57 % of minimum wage earners were part time workers.
- Only 7% of minimum wage earners were defined as being the head of the family.
- 52% of minimum wage earners lived with their parents. Of the minimum wage earners living with their parents, 47% were attending school.
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
and Responsible for Labour
B.C. minimum wage increase
On Thursday, March 12, 2015, the B.C. government announced an increase to the minimum wage that will take effect Sept. 15, 2015. In addition, government announced a formula for increases to the minimum wage in 2016 and beyond.
Future minimum wage increase mechanism
Future minimum wage increases will be based on the percentage that the B.C. Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased in the previous calendar year (rounded to the nearest nickel).
Each March, government will announce the minimum wage rate to be effective Sept. 15
The CPI has been increasing by around 1% to 2% per year over the last decade. This will provide for incremental changes to the minimum wage.
This will bring B.C. in line with the many other Canadian jurisdictions that already have commitments to regular minimum wage increases based on a statistical measure (e.g., inflation) and/or a mechanism in place for a formal review (e.g., panel of experts).
This change is a public policy commitment that will give businesses predictability and reduce any major shocks to the labour market and the bottom line of small businesses.
Annual increases will be done through regulation.
General and liquor server minimum wage
On Sept. 15, 2015, the general minimum wage will increase 20 cents to a total of $10.45/hour.
On Sept. 15, 2015, the liquor server wage will also increase 20 cents to $9.20/hour.
The liquor server wage will continue to be calculated in future years at $1.25 less the general minimum wage.
Daily, monthly and piece rates
On Sept. 15, 2015, the daily rate for live-in home support workers and live-in camp leaders, as well as the monthly rates for resident caretakers and the farm worker piece rates (for harvesters of certain fruits and vegetables) will increase proportionate to the 20-cent increase in the general minimum hourly wage.
This adjustment equates to just under a 2% increase.
The daily, monthly and piece rates break down as follows:
- Effective Sept. 15, 2015, the minimum daily wage for a live-in home support worker is $104.50 each, day or part day worked.\
- Effective Sept. 15, 2015, the minimum daily wage for a live-in camp leader is $83.60 for each day or part day worked.
- Effective Sept. 15, 2015, the minimum wage for a resident caretaker is:
- (a) for an apartment building containing 9 to 60 residential suites, $627.00 a month plus $25.13 for each suite; and
- (b) for an apartment building containing 61 or more residential suites, $2,135.71.
- Effective Sept. 15, 2015, the minimum wage, including 4% of gross earnings vacation pay, for farm workers who are employed on a piece work basis and hand harvest the following berry, fruit or vegetable crops, is, for the gross volume or weight picked, as follows:
- (a) apples - $17.39 a bin (27.1 cu. ft.);
- (b) apricots - $20.00 a 1/2 bin (13.7 cu. ft.);
- (c) beans - $0.239 a pound;
- (d) blueberries - $0.404 a pound;
- (e) Brussels sprouts - $0.166 a pound;
- (f) cherries - $0.228 a pound;
- (g) grapes - $18.48 a 1/2 bin (13.7 cu. ft.);
- (h) mushrooms - $0.240 a pound;
- (i) peaches - $18.48 a 1/2 bin (12.6 cu. ft.);
- (j) pears - $19.58 a bin (27.1 cu. ft.);
- (k) peas - $0.298 a pound;
- (l) prune plums - $19.58 a 1/2 bin (13.7 cu. ft.);
- (m) raspberries - $0.364 a pound;
- (n) strawberries - $0.350 a pound;
- Effective Sept. 15, 2015, the minimum wage for farm workers who are employed on a piece work basis and hand harvest the following crop is, for gross number picked, as follows:
- (a) daffodils - $0.140 a bunch (10 stems).
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
Removing barriers and opening up new opportunities
British Columbia provides many supports to help single parents, families and low income earners, using tools that include tax policy, social supports, education and training to remove barriers and help move people up the income ladder.
Government has improved, extended and added tax credits and programs to help support B.C. families and keep life affordable, including:
- B.C. families generally have one of the lowest overall tax burdens in Canada including income taxes, consumption taxes, property taxes, health-care premiums and payroll taxes.
- For 2015, we are providing a small enhancement to the B.C. tax reduction. This will mean that a single individual can earn more than $19,000 a year before paying any provincial personal income tax. Modest as it is, this measure will benefit roughly 500,000 taxpayers - letting them keep a little more of their hard-earned income.
- Provincial personal income taxes for most taxpayers have been reduced by 37% or more since 2001, and today an additional 400,000 people no longer pay B.C. income tax.
- Effective Jan. 1, 2015, MSP premium assistance is enhanced to ensure those receiving assistance will not be affected by the premium increase. Nearly one million British Columbians receive MSP subsidies, including more than 800,000 residents who pay no MSP premiums at all. Those who qualify for premium assistance, and whose incomes have remained consistent, will pay lower rates than they did in 2009.
Under the new Single Parent Employment Initiative, more than 16,000 single parents on income and disability assistance will also have access to a range of supports that will help break down the barriers they often face when trying to find a full-time job, including:
- Tuition and education costs for approved training programs that last up to 12 months for in-demand jobs.
- Transportation costs to and from school.
- Full child-care costs during training.
Government has raised the earning exemptions from $200 to $400 for single parents on income assistance, allowing a person to earn more money from a job without jeopardizing their full provincial support payments.
- Families with children who receive income assistance double their monthly income exemption from $200 to $400 a month and increase it from $300 to $500 a month for families who have a child with a disability.
- Effective Sept. 1, 2015, these changes won’t affect their income assistance rates.
- Families will also be able to keep their basic health supplement coverage for a full year when they leave income assistance for employment. Health supplements give families access to dental, optical and Ministry of Health MSP and Pharmacare programs.
As announced in the February budget, as of Sept. 1, 2015, child support payments will be fully exempted from income assistance calculations. That means parents will be able to keep every dollar they receive in child support - over and above what they receive in income and disability assistance. This translates into an additional $32 million over three years for some of the neediest children and families in the province.
Starting April 1, 2015 approximately 180,000 families will also begin receiving the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit. It provides up to $660 a year for each child under the age of six, to help offset the cost of child care.
Also coming on line this year is the Training and Education Savings grant - a one-time payment of $1,200 for every eligible child born in British Columbia since January 1, 2007.
RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
- Rental assistance programs are a better and more flexible option for most households.
- Families and individuals can choose where they want to live.
- They are more cost effective and there are no waitlists.
- While 10,000 new housing units would cost $3 billion and take years to complete; rental assistance for 10,000 families only costs $50 million.
Homeless Prevention Program (HPP):
- The Province and the federal government are providing $12.5 million per year over the next five years.
- This new program is providing rent supplements and support services to people at-risk of homelessness.
- With this new funding, we estimate that up to 4,000 more people will receive help over the next five years.
- Service providers are delivering the program to more than 50 communities throughout B.C.
Rental Assistance Program (RAP):
- Last year more than 10,000 low-income, working families received rent supplements to help them stay in the private market.
- In April 2014, the Province enhanced the program, increasing the average monthly payment from approximately $370 to $420.
Shelter Aid for Elderly Residents (SAFER):
- More than 17,000 low and moderate income seniors households receive rent supplements to help make their rent affordable.
- In April 2014, the Province enhanced the program, increasing the average monthly payment from approximately $150 to $190 per month.
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour