Charting a path to $15/hour for all BC workers

In our submission to the BC Fair Wages Commission, the CCPA-BC highlighted the urgency for British Columbia to adopt a $15 minimum wage by March 2019. Read the submission.

BC’s current minimum wage is a poverty-level wage. Low-wage workers need a significant boost to their income and they have been waiting a long time. Over 400,000 British Columbians—22 per cent of all paid employees in the province—work for less than $15 per hour and they would significantly benefit from a $15 minimum wage. 

Inadequate minimum wages are clearly a significant part of the poverty story in BC. The poverty rate in BC is currently the highest in Canada and our 2016 report Working Poverty in Metro Vancouver shows that BC leads the country in the rate of working poverty. When people think about poverty, they often think it is primarily a story of low welfare rates. But only about 4 per cent of British Columbians rely on social assistance at any given time. In contrast, about half the poor in BC are either the working poor or the children of the working poor. 

Our recommendation for the path to a $15 minimum wage is to front-load the minimum wage increase and implement it in three steps over 12 months as follows: 

  • $13 in March 2018
  • $14 in Sept 2018
  • $15 in March 2019 

This would represent a similar timeline of minimum wage increases as the BC government implemented in 2011 and will put BC on schedule to match Alberta and Ontario by March 2019.

The submission also offers recommendations for after the $15 minimum wage has been implemented and refutes arguments from those opposed to increasing the minimum wage.