The BC Government had tasked their Fair Wage Commission to report in two stages: (1) in regard to reaching a $15.00 minimum wage by 2021 by December 31, 2017, and (2) on how to address the difference between the minimum wage and the living wage in spring 2018. The government released the first report of the Commission today and announced that it will increase the minimum wage as the Commission has recommended to:
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)
RCC has been a strong advocate for a minimum of six-month advance notice, tying increases to CPI, and equally phasing-in significant increases over a longer period of time. The BC Government announcement misses on all three counts.
The BC New Democrats had promised that the increase would be phased-in over a four year period. However, increases to the minimum wage are front-loaded in the first two years. In choosing to have the increases on June 1 each year, Government has not provided six months’ notice and has not harmonized with any other jurisdictions (the majority of provinces institute minimum wage increases on April 1, and there is another grouping on October 1). In addition, Government has not indicated their intention to return to the CPI indexation after the $15.00 per hour level was achieved.
There is the potential of further changes impacting the minimum wage. The Commission has yet to open consultations, or report recommendations on how to address the difference between the minimum wage and “living wage” (report expected later in 2018); and the minimum wage for the five groups of workers who have an alternate minimum wage (report expected March 2018).
RCC will continue to monitor the work of the Fair Wage Commission and provide input when the Government or the Commission permit us to do so.
RCC will continue to advocate for a return to indexation of the minimum wage with the consumer price index.