Minimum wage still too low: B.C. Fed

B.C. Federation of Labour wants another dollar added to bring the wage to $11.25 next fall.

B.C. Federation of Labour vice-president Irene Lanzinger and president Jim Sinclair speak to reporters at the legislature Wednesday.

VICTORIA – The B.C. Federation of Labour campaigned for four years for a $10-an-hour minimum wage, and that will be delivered May 1 when B.C.’s wage goes to $10.25.

But federation president Jim Sinclair visited the legislature Wednesday to tell the B.C. government it’s no longer enough. He wants another increase next fall to $11.25 an hour.

That rate is what is needed to keep up with Statistics Canada’s “low-income cutoff” (LICO), Sinclair told reporters.

Critics often use LICO as a measure of poverty, although the federal agency says it is not, since it is a relative measure that grows along with inflation and economic growth.

“Today the minimum wage is $9.50. That’s the second lowest in Canada, still,” Sinclair said. “Today, if we were at the LICO level, it would be at $11.25 an hour.”

Premier Christy Clark announced in March that the minimum wage would be raised for the first time in a decade, and the $6 an hour “training wage” was abolished. It went from $8 to $8.75 on May 1, and jumped another 75 cents on Nov. 1. A third 75-cent increase takes effect next May 1.

After the increase to $11.25, Sinclair said government should meet with business and labour to decide how the minimum wage should keep up with the cost of living.

B.C. Labour Minister Margaret MacDiarmid met with Sinclair before his news conference Wednesday.

“Our promise is, starting in 2012, to look at our policy,” MacDiarmid said afterwards. But she would make no commitment beyond next May, adding that government policy should aim to make B.C. “a great place to work, and a great place to be an employer.”

Sinclair also blasted what he called Clark’s “dumbest idea,” a lower wage for staff who primarily serve alcohol. That went to $8.50 an hour May 1, $8.75 on Nov. 1 and is set to go to $9 an hour in May 2012. Clark said that measure is similar to the minimum wage system in Ontario, and it reflects higher tips earned by pub, lounge and cabaret workers.

“There’s no rationale for this form of discrimination,” Sinclair said. “It doesn’t apply to anybody else who works in industries where they get tips.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack students learn about business and charity during entrepreneurship fair

Mt. Slesse Grade 8 kids will be donating 20 per cent of their business profits to the food bank

Work wrapping up in Chilliwack on the Valley Rail Trail expansion

The trail is envisioned as the north-south spine of a future cycling network

Chilliwack saw sub-tropical blast of warm air Wednesday

It didn’t break any official records but it was warmer than usual by several degrees

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

GW Graham wallops Ballenas Whalers in junior football playoff

Logan Buchwitz scored four touchdowns for the Grizzlies in a one-sided 40-0 win.

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

Most Read