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

Stone re-joins Campbell River Storm as head coach/GM

Spent half of last season with the BCHL Surrey Eagles

Removal of old Elk Falls parking lots underway

Already replaced by the new access to the suspension bridge

Campbell River city council won’t support cannabis license, citing First Nation opposition and ‘at-risk youth’ nearby

The third application to come before council is the first to be denied city support

Former Campbell Riverite reaches Everest summit

Clayton Matthews’ team got to the top of the world earlier this week

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

Most Read