Pay hike for 100,000

UPDATE: 8:50 p.m.

The B.C. government says it's planning to increase the provincial minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.

Labour Minister Harry Bains said Tuesday a fair wages commission will be established in the coming weeks to plan how to raise the rate without hurting businesses.

"I think what we are doing is going with a responsible, fair approach so that the businesses know that it's predictable, it's incremental increases going forward so they can look at their structure, their costs ahead of time and knowing fully well what their costs will be," he said.

A 50-cent increase announced by the previous Liberal government will go ahead as planned on Sept. 15, bringing the wage to $11.35 per hour, Bains said.

ORIGINAL: 2:45 p.m.

The lowest paid workers in the province are getting a raise.

Only a few weeks after taking power, the provincial NDP are giving minimum wage workers a pay hike as they inch toward an eventual $15 minimum wage.

Workers will be receiving a 50-cent increase in September..

Premier John Horgan said moving toward a $15 minimum wage is long overdue in making life more affordable for British Columbians.

"British Columbia's lowest-paid workers need a raise," Horgan said. "The action we're taking will make life better for working parents, seniors, new Canadians, students and more - these are people struggling to get by."

As of Sept. 15, the minimum wage will jump from $10.85 per hour to $11.35 per hour, giving B.C. the third-highest minimum wage in Canada - up from seventh.

"Today's increase and our commitment to the $15 minimum wage will benefit almost 100,000 British Columbians who have been getting by on one of the lowest minimum wages in the country," said Horgan, adding that 62 per cent of minimum-wage earners are women.

Labour Minister Harry Bains said details around a fair wages commission's composition and terms of reference will be announced in the coming weeks.

The commission will submit its first report within 90 days of its first meeting.

"We've listened to business owners, who have told us gradual, predictable increases are the way to go to minimize the impact on their businesses," Bains said. "And they recognize that the move to a $15 minimum wage is good for retention for their businesses, and good for the B.C. economy."

Liquor servers' wages are also rising by 50 cents to $10.10 per hour.

Other minimum-wage provisions in the employment standards regulation will receive increases in line with the general minimum-wage increase of 4.6 per cent, including the daily rate for live-in home support workers and live-in camp leaders, as well as the monthly rates for resident caretakers and the minimum farm worker piece rates for harvesters of certain fruits and vegetables.

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