PRESS RELEASE: DECEMBER 17, 2009

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Minimum Wage: third increase in three years in Quebec, frozen for eight years in BC BCFed

December 15, 2009

BC’s minimum wage will continue to fall behind other Canadian provinces following the Quebec government’s announcement today that they will increase their minimum wage to $9.50 an hour next May.

“Governments in every other province in Canada recognize the hardships faced by people who earn minimum wage,” says Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “The majority of minimum wage earners are women. Most minimum wage earners are 20 years or older. They are trying to support themselves and pay their bills just like everyone else.”

BC’s minimum wage has been frozen at $8 an hour since 2001 and became the lowest in Canada last September. The high cost of living in BC means minimum wage earners in BC have much less spending power than low-wage workers in other provinces.

Next year Ontario’s minimum wage will increase to $10.25 while Newfoundland’s will grow to $10.00 and Nova Scotia’s will increase to $9.65. During BC’s minimum wage freeze, the cost to taxpayers of Premier Campbell’s own salary and benefits have increased 109 percent.

Similar to the Federation’s call, a recent report from Liberal Senator Art Eggleton and Conservative Senator Hugh Segal recommends “that the federal government reinstate a federal minimum wage at $10 an hour, indexed to the Consumer Price Index, and that suppliers of goods and services to the federal government be required to pay its employees at least that amount.”

“Politicians of every stripe, except the BC Liberals, understand the importance of increasing the minimum wage to fight poverty,” Sinclair said. “It’s time they get on board.”

 

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