Minimum wage is set to increase every June 1 in B.C. starting Friday.

Minimum wage is set to increase every June 1 in B.C. starting Friday.

Vernon businesses ready for minimum wage hike: Chamber

The B.C. government plans increase minimum wage each June to reach a $15 per hour by 2021.

General minimum wage will rise by $1.30 on Friday, June 1 — from $11.35 to $12.65 per hour. The goal is to rise B.C.’s general minimum wage to at least $15.20 per hour by June 2021.

Dione Chambers is the general manager for the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. She says that this probably won’t have a huge impact this year.

“The increases in coming years, down the road, is where we’ll probably see this having a bigger impact,” said Chambers.

In February, an intense phone call study conducted by Meyers Norris Penny, MNP, the Canadian Accounting and Business Advisory, surveyed 200 businesses around Vernon. Results showed that 49 per cent of local businesses believed there would be no real impact and 29 per cent thought the increases would have a negative impact. Chambers said this is likely because most businesses in the area are paying higher than the provincial minimum wage. She says problems may arise due to increases associated with wage hikes and references the recent increase for medical services plan, MSP.

“After the increases that were announced, the BC chamber, as well as the Vernon chamber, were in support of minimum wage increases going forward being tied to the cost of CPI [consumer price index],” said Chambers. “That’s typically how minimum increases are accounted for and we’d like to see it go to that model.”

Chambers said she thinks it’s also important to understand what the costs of living is in each region and how living wages vary across the province.

The provincial-wide increase was first announced as part of the B.C. NDP’s four-year plan to incrementally raise the minimum wage. The schedule and increase rates are based on the findings and recommendations of BC’s Fair Wages Commission.

The Fair Wages Commission was established in October 2017 as an arms-length government resource to engage with the public to advise the government on an approach to achieve this $15 an hour goal with increases that are regular, measured and predictable. These wage increases for B.C.’s lowest-paid workers are the first of four annual increases that will take effect on June 1 of each year. The increase schedule is as follows:

June 1, 2018: $12.65 an hour ($1.30 increase)

June 1, 2019: $13.85 ($1.20 increase)

June 1, 2020: $14.60 ($0.75 increase)

June 1, 2021: $15.20 ($0.60 increase)

Specific workers, including liquor servers, resident caretakers and live-in camp leaders will also see separate increases.

Minimum Wage