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Higher wages coming for B.C.’s lowest paid workers

Higher wages coming for B.C.’s lowest paid workers

April 9, 2021 at 10:22 am  BC, News, Politics

On June 1, 2021, B.C. liquor servers will get a pay boost as the lower liquor server minimum wage is replaced with the general minimum wage of $15.20 an hour.

“I’m proud to put an end to the discriminatory minimum wage for B.C. liquor servers, which disproportionally affects women,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “Many of these low-income workers are the most vulnerable in workplaces, including young women as liquor servers and minorities in low-wage jobs. Raising the minimum wage will bring equity and fairness for workers and make a big difference in the lives of thousands of British Columbians.”

This move delivers on a commitment made in 2018 to bring an end to the alternative liquor server minimum wage in B.C., 80% of whom are women.

“I have absolutely benefited from the annual increases to the minimum wage over the past four years,” said Lara Higgs, a liquor server at Dinghy Dock Pub in Nanaimo. “As a career liquor server for the past 36 years and mother of three adult children, the extra money helps me pay bills and catch up from lost wages when I was raising my kids. There are lots of workers who get paid tips in the service sector and to single out liquor servers for a lower wage is unfair, and I’m thankful this will be a thing of the past.”

June also marks reaching the goal of a $15.20 an hour minimum wage through regular, measured and predictable increases, which was recommended by the Fair Wages Commission in 2018. At that time, B.C. had one of the lowest minimum wages in the country and was one of the most expensive provinces to live in.

Nearly 300,000 workers will get a much-needed pay boost, with the general minimum wage increasing to $15.20 an hour.

“Many low-income workers have been essential workers during the pandemic, and it’s only fair they receive the scheduled increase coming to them,” Bains said.

The minimum wage rates for live-in camp leaders and resident caretakers are also increasing effective June 1:

  • general minimum wage increases to $15.20 an hour from $14.60 an hour;
  • liquor server minimum wage of $13.95 an hour is being replaced with the general minimum wage of $15.20 an hour;
  • live-in camp leader minimum wage, per day, increases to $121.65 from $116.86; and
  • resident caretaker minimum wage, per month, increases to $912.28, plus $36.56 per suite for those who manage nine to 60 residential suites and to $3,107.42 for 61 or more suites.

As outlined in Bains’ mandate letter from Premier John Horgan, future increases to the minimum wage, starting in 2022, will be based on the rate of inflation to provide predictability going forward.

Increasing the minimum wage is a key part of TogetherBC, B.C.’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, which aims to reduce poverty and make life better for all British Columbians.

Quick Facts:

  • Over 13% of all workers in B.C. earn less than $15 an hour.
  • Prior to 2011, liquor servers in B.C. were covered under the general minimum wage.

Learn More:

For more information, visit the Employment Standards Branch website:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/wages/minimum-wage

Fair Wage Commission: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/fairwagescommission/

TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy: www.gov.bc.ca/togetherbc

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