B.C. to increase minimum wage June 1, end lower wages for liquor servers

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B.C.’s lowest paid workers will get a pay boost tomorrow when the province’s minimum wage is increased to $15.20 an hour. June 1 will also mark the end of the discriminatory lower minimum wage for liquor servers, which disproportionally affects women, the province said.

“About 80 per cent of liquor servers are women and the low liquor wage is a clear example of the gender pay gap we are fighting to eliminate,” said Grace Lore, parliamentary secretary of gender equity. 

“Most minimum wage earners are women, often racialized women and newcomers who face barriers to accessing better paying jobs. We need to work towards wages that workers can actually live on instead of being held back by.”

Over the past four years, B.C.’s general minimum wage has increased from $11.35 to $15.20 per hour. The change has affected close to 400,000 British Columbians over those years — the majority of whom are women, immigrants and youth, according to the province.

“Raising the minimum wage will be life-changing for many British Columbians. Making it easier for people to pay their rent and other bills is a step in the right direction, but only one tool in the kit to bring people out of poverty,” said Erica Jones, a grocery sector worker. “People who make the minimum wage work as hard as anyone else.”

The province said starting next year minimum wage increases will be tied to inflation. B.C. will have the second-highest minimum wage in Canada, second only to Nunavut’s $16 an hour, according to the Retail Council of Canada. 

About six per cent of employees in B.C., or 121,000 people, earned minimum wage or less in 2020, according to the province.

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