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Minimum wage earners throughout Merritt joined a provincial celebration after the B.C. government pushed the lowest hourly earnings to $10.25 on May 1.
The increase represents a $0.75 hike and $2.25 increase in the last year. It is the last of three stages Premier Christy Clark promised when she was sworn in as B.C.’s premier last March.
According to Liz Touet, employment services co-ordinator for Community Futures Nicola Valley, few locals could be affected by the increase.
“A lot of the employers, I find, pay more than the minimum wage,” she said.
“A lot of the workers were probably at the new rate already.”
She noted, however, that many in the service sector could be affected, but those jobs aren’t typically posted through CFNV.
Prior to the increase, provincial minimum wage was static at $8 per hour for nearly a decade.
Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid issued a statement saying: “British Columbians who made $8 per hour last year could now have more than an additional $4,000 in their pockets this year. That’s good news for individuals and families, and that’s good news for the economy.”
According to Lucia Orser of the University of Victoria’s student society, more than half of the minimum wage earners are between 15 and 24 years old and are often students.
“I’m very pleased with the increase,” she said.
“This increase in minimum wage will help to support them as they prepare and plan for funding their post-secondary education.”
Minimum wage for liquor servers was raised to $9 in May and will stay at that level. These workers are presumed to make tip money.
Minimum Wages By Province
British Columbia: $10.25
New Brunswick: $10
Newfoundland and Labrador: $10
Northwest Territories: $10
Nova Scotia: $10.15
(Source: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada)