Minimum wage

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March 16, 2011
Clark gov’t raises B.C. minimum wage
Premier Christy Clark today announced British Columbia's minimum wage will increase in three stages to $10.25 by May 1, 2012, and the training wage for hourly-paid employees will be eliminated on May 1, 2011. The government will also phase in a special minimum wage for liquor servers beginning May 1, 2011.

SFU labour historian Mark Leier says the increase “is a about $5 too low.” He adds, “if you track minimum wage to the price of telephone calls, bus fares, Kraft Dinner and beer, it would need to be at least $15 to match what minimum wage bought in 1975. If you drink imported beer, it should be $35. I call this the beer-o-meter.”

Krishna Pendakur
, an SFU economics professor who specializes in public and labour economics, says the increase is “a great idea” and “better late than never.”

SFU political scientist Marjorie Griffin Cohen says the increase “is good news and will take B.C. out of bottom place with regard to the minimum wage in Canada. Best of all, they are eliminating the training wage.” But she adds, “they are replacing the training wage with another two-tiered wage structure, similar to one Ontario brought in the 1980s. This makes the minimum wage for those who serve alcoholic beverages less than the minimum wage for other workers.”

SFU Business professor and marketing expert Lindsay Meredith says the increase represents a “perfect storm” of bad news for the B.C. restaurant and neighbourhood pub industry, when combined with the Harmonized Sales Tax and B.C.'s tough new impaired driving penalties. But he adds, “is it the right thing do? I think many British Columbians would say yes.”

Marjorie Griffin Cohen, 778.782.5838, 604.294.2134 (h); mcohen@sfu.ca
Mark Leier, 778.782.4450; mark_leier@sfu.ca
Krishna Pendakur, 778.782.5501, 604.715.9197 cell; krishna_pendakur@sfu.ca
Lindsay Meredith, 778.782.5554; 604.939.0460 (h), 604.842.6007 (cell); lindsay_meredith@sfu.ca

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