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Friday, February 11, 2011

B.C.’s lowest paid workers deserve a raise

David Murray is the Federal Candidate for the NDP in Abbotsford. 
His is the Political Columnist for the Today Online News. He can be reached by email : or you can follow him on Twitter : David Murray4NDP Its time to raise the minimum wage in British Columbia!  Here is some information about minimum wage in Canada.(sources BC Fed and Wikipedia)
B.C.’s lowest paid workers deserve a raise. Minimum wage earners working full-time should earn enough to stay above the poverty line. That can only be achieved by immediately raising the minimum wage to at least $10.00 per hour.
The B.C. Federation of Labour in cooperation with other groups is spearheading a campaign to raise BC's minimum wage. Our goal is to win a wage increase for the 63,000 British Columbians who earn $8 per hour along with another 293,000 people who earn less than $10. And we want to scrap the so-called $6 training wage.
The provincial government likes to crow about a booming economy—but it’s only booming for a few.
B.C.’s lowest paid workers have been left behind by the Campbell government because our minimum wage has been frozen since 2001. And the number of minimum wage jobs in B.C. has actually increased since 2001 when the Liberals were first elected—a sure sign that economic prosperity isn’t being shared in our province. Download a copy of the minimum wage fast facts.

Our Solution

To ensure that no worker in B.C. lives below the poverty line, the B.C. Federation of Labour is calling for a three-step increase in the minimum wage:
  • An immediate increase to $10 combined with the elimination of the $6 training wage;
  • A subsequent increase to $11 per hour one year later; and
  • An indexing formula, so that like our provincial politicians, those earning the minimum can be assured of an annual increase in pay.

Broad support

Our polling shows that nearly 80 per cent of British Columbians support an increase to $10 NOW. And we’re reaching out to win the backing of community leaders as well. Many municipal councils and politicians are echoing our call for an immediate pay boost for B.C.’s lowest paid workers.

Lowest of the Low

The Minimum Wage in British Columbia has not increased for eight years and is now the lowest in Canada:
Under the Constitution of Canada, the responsibility for enacting and enforcing labour laws, including minimum wages in Canada, rests with the ten provinces, the three territories also having been granted this power by virtue of federal legislation. This means that each province and territory has its own minimum wage. The lowest general minimum wages currently in force is that of British Columbia ($8.00/hour) and the highest is that of Ontario ($10.25/hour). Some provinces allow lower wages to be paid to liquor servers and other tip earners, and/or to inexperienced employees. The Employment Standards Act of British Columbia allows employers to pay as little as $6/hour to new workers with less than 500 hours of work experience[1] (about three months of full-time employment, six months half-time, or one year quarter-time). For those in the Yukon, the minimum wage rate applies to employees who are 17 years of age or over.
The federal government in years past has set its own minimum wage rates for workers in federal jurisdiction industries (railways for example). In 1996, however, the federal minimum wage was re-defined to be the general adult minimum wage rate of the province or territory where the work is performed. This means, for example, that a railway company could not legally pay a worker in British Columbia less than $8.00/hour regardless of the worker's experience.
This list of minimum wages in Canada collects the minimum wages in Canadian dollars (CAD) set by each province and territory of Canada. Assuming a 40-hour work week for 4.34 weeks a month, the monthly gross incomes of individuals earning the lowest and highest minimum wages in Canada are $1345 and $1519, respectively. Based on current exchange rates, Canadian minimum wages in every jurisdiction are higher than the U.S. federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour (although BC's "training" wage is almost always below this level depending on exchange); however, critics of current minimum wage levels in Canada often claim that they are insufficient and advocate that they be raised to what they claim to be the living wage. The federal New Democratic Party had called for a separate federal minimum wage of $10/hour,[2] although as mentioned above, such a change could not be enforced on any employer operating under provincial jurisdiction (unless the province voluntarily agreed to harmonize its own minimum wage). On October 1, 2009, M.P. Irene Mathyssen introduced a private member's bill (C-448) to amend the Canada Labour Code with regard to the minimum wage and have the federal minimum wage set to $12/hr.[3]
The following table is a list of hourly minimum wages for adult workers in Canada. The provinces which have their minimum wages in bold allow for lower wages under circumstances which are described under the "Comments" heading.
Note: The following table can be sorted by Jurisdiction, Wage, or Effective date using the Sort none.gif icon.
Jurisdiction↓ Wage (C$)↓ Effective date↓ Comments
Alberta 8.80 2009.04.01Apr. 1, 2009 Will be adjusted annually every April.[4][5] An exception will prove no increase for 2010.[6]
British Columbia 8.00 2001.11.01Nov. 1, 2001 This wage applies only once a person has worked for more than 500 hours with one or more employers; the "First Job/Entry Level" minimum wage is $6.00/hour.
  • Currently the lowest in Canada.[7]
Manitoba 9.50 2010.10.01Oct. 1, 2010 Workers involved in Construction have a minimum wage starting at $12.60.[8]
New Brunswick 9.00 2010.04.01Sep. 1, 2010 Further increases in April 2011 to $9.50, and Sept. 2011 to $10.[9]
Newfoundland and Labrador 10.00 2009.07.01July 1, 2010
Northwest Territories 9.00 2010.04.01April 1, 2010
Nova Scotia 9.65 2010.10.01Oct. 1, 2010 $9.15 for inexperienced workers (less than three months employed in the type of work they are hired to do).[10]
Nunavut 11.00 2011.01.01Jan. 1, 2011 Currently the highest in Canada
Ontario 10.25 2009.03.31Mar. 31, 2010
  • Students (under age 18, working under 28 hours per week between June and September) $9.60
  • Liquor servers $8.90.
  • Homeworkers (includes students and overrides the student wage) $11.28
Prince Edward Island[11] 8.70 2009.10.01June 1, 2010
Quebec 9.50 2010.05-01<May 1, 2010 Will increase to $9.65. [12] Workers receiving gratuities receive $8.25.[13]Will increase to $8.35. [14]
Saskatchewan[15] 9.25 2009.05.01May 1, 2009

8.93 2010.04.01Apr. 1, 2010 Yukon is currently the only jurisdiction in Canada to peg annual increases (every April 1) in its minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index.[16][17]     

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