Minimum Wage BC: What Are the New Minimum Wage Rules for British Columbia and Other Canadian Provinces?

Minimum Wage BC

Knowing the current situation and upcoming changes regarding the 2021 minimum wage in Canada and in each province/territory is important for workers and job seekers. Although Canada at one point had a separate federal minimum wage for federal government employees since 1996 all federal employees are subject to the minimum wage of the province or territory in which they are employed. In this post, we will be finding out more about the minimum wage in British Columbia.

Minimum Wage BC: All You Need to Know

What is minimum wage?

The minimum wage is the legal minimum wage that an employer can offer its employees. The minimum wage in Canada is a matter of provincial and territorial jurisdiction. This means that each province and territory sets its own minimum wage. It can increase or decrease by law. 

What is the minimum wage in British Columbia?

June 1, 2018, saw a $ 1.30 hike in the minimum wage in British Columbia to $ 12.65 per hour.

The increase is part of the NDP government’s strategy to reach $ 15.25 an hour by 2021.

If all goes as planned, the minimum wage increase in British Columbia will be as follows:

  • June 1, 2019: $ 13.85 per hour
  • June 1, 2020: $ 14.69 per hour
  • June 1, 2021: $ 15.20 per hour

Under Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government, the minimum wage stagnated at $ 8 an hour between 2001 and 2011. Subsequently, under Christy Clark’s leadership, the minimum wage gradually rose to an hourly rate of $ 10.85. in 2017. It then rose to $ 11.35 the same year.

Currently, at $ 14 an hour, Ontario has the highest minimum wage in the country. Next comes Alberta with an hourly rate of $ 13.60 and an increase planned for October, which will push it to $ 15 an hour.

When was the law passed for limiting the working hours in Canada?

The Liberal government of Lomer Gouin passes a law limiting working hours in the wool and cotton mills. The new legislation also put in place a limit of 10 hours of work per day and 58 hours per week for men, women and children. They must also be at least 14 years old to work in an industrial establishment. In 1912, the government went further, reducing to 55 the number of hours that women and children could spend spinning. The situation of workers in urban areas nevertheless remained worrying. According to the Montreal Social Welfare Commission, a worker who does 12 hours of work, six days a week, only earns $ 550 annually. But this sum, which assumes an uninterrupted workload, will hardly allow a family of five to survive.” There is nothing left to deal with illness, nor for recreation, church, furniture, newspapers or savings. The family must of course live in an unsanitary dwelling, often located in a basement. ”

What led to the formation of the Minimum Wage Law?

The Unionist government of Maurice Duplessis adopts the Reasonable Wages Act, which will later become the minimum wage law. The Reasonable Wages Act allowed for the establishment of a statutory minimum wage. In addition, the government also set up the Reasonable Wages Office, an arbitration tribunal responsible for examining questions of wages and working conditions, but whose recommendations are not binding. Although this new structure offered certain advantages to workers, it was viewed with suspicion by the trade union movement, which preferred settlements based on collective agreements. This mistrust also existed towards the Unionist government of Maurice Duplessis. The latter was opposed to the principle of the closed workshop and to the holding of strikes which he considered to be a factor of disorder. The Reasonable Wages Office was used in particular to end the textile strike of 1937, before a collective agreement was signed between the Dominion Textile and workers affiliated with the Confederation of Catholic Workers of Canada (CTCC), in the fall of 1937.

By this law, the Unionist government of Maurice Duplessis prohibited strikes in charitable institutions and hospitals and imposed the settlement of disputes by binding arbitration.

In the early 1930s, employees of hospitals and charitable institutions were among the workers in the most difficult conditions. In 1935, the first Catholic unions working in French-speaking hospitals in Montreal were founded. In 1937, the Montreal Hospital Employees Association, affiliated with the Confederation of Catholic Workers of Canada (CTCC), began negotiating a first collective agreement. Its members even voted in favour of a strike, which was averted by an improvement in the situation following an order from the Minimum Wage Commission. However, discontent persisted and unionization experienced a strong growth in this sector. 

What is the consumer price index and how does it affect minimum wage?

The consumer price index (CPI) is the instrument for measuring inflation. It is used to estimate, between two given periods, the average variation in the prices of products consumed by households. It is a synthetic measure of the evolution of product prices, at constant quality.

It is published every month in the Official Journal.

The price index excluding tobacco is used to index many private contracts, alimony, life annuities and also to revalue the minimum wage. The index used for the minimum wage is that of “households in the 1st quintile of the distribution of living standards, excluding tobacco”.

Since the publication of the CPI in January 2016, INSEE has published a new index based on 2015 = 100 instead of the index based on 1998 = 100. This updated index constitutes the eighth generation of the index since 1914. A lot of people believe that an increase in the minimum wage leads to inflation as manufacturers increase the price of finished goods to offset the increased cost of production.

Minimum Wage in BC (and Canada in general): Trivia

  • 10.4% of all Canadian employees earn minimum wage.
  • 58.8% of minimum wage workers are women.
  • 34.9% of minimum wage earners have a post-secondary diploma.
  • 47.7% of minimum wage earners are over 24 years old.
  • 13.4% of minimum wage earners in 2018 were 55 or older, compared to 5.1% in 1998.

What are the minimum wages for different Canadian provinces?

  • British Columbia – $ 15.20 an hour
  • Alberta – $ 15.00 an hour 
  • Saskatchewan – $ 11.45 an hour
  • Manitoba –  $ 11.90 an hour
  • Ontario – $ 14.25 an hour
  • Quebec – $ 13.50 an hour
  • New Brunswick – $ 11.75 an hour
  • Nova Scotia – $ 12.95 an hour
  • Prince Edward Island – $ 13.00 per hour
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – $ 12.65 per hour
  • Yukon – $ 13.85 per hour
  • Northwest Territories – $ 13.46 per hour
  • Nunavut –  $ 16.00 per hour

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