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B.C. minimum wage to be tied to the province's Consumer Price Index

03/12/2015 01:53 EDT | Updated 05/12/2015 05:59 EDT
The minimum wage in B.C. will be tied to the province's rate of inflation and rise every September, Jobs Minister Shirley Bond announced Thursday.

Bond said that the rate would reflect the B.C. Consumer Price Index, with the first increase taking place this September, with a raise from $10.25 per hour, to $10.45.

Bond confirmed that if the CPI rate drops across the year, the minimum wage would remain at the previous year's rate.

The minimum wage for servers will rise from $9.00 per hour to $9.20, Bond said, staying lower than the regular minimum wage because of tips.

She said the government is trying to protect the most vulnerable British Columbians, noting that most minimum wage earners either live at home or are in school.

NDP MLA Shane Simpson said the increase is not enough to bring the minimum wage to the level it should be.

He said that if the wage had been pegged to the CPI over the past three years, the rise in September would be to $10.88 per hour.

B.C. Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger called the announcement "pathetic", insisting the government's decision would keep people in poverty, even those working full time.

The rise is nowhere near the $15 per hour being called for by the federation.

Lanziger said that at this rate, it will take until 2034 for the minimum wage in B.C. to reach $15 per hour.

"We are seeing a growing gap between rich and poor and a lot of poverty in British Columbia," Lanzinger said last fall.

"We lead the country in poverty and that is terrible and so the minimum wage will counteract that to some degree if we raise it to $15."

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