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Minimum wage boost: B.C.’s lowest paid workers, liquor servers to get pay increase

VANCOUVER — The lowest paid workers in B.C. will get a wage boost this week and the province’s separate minimum for liquor servers will come to an end.

On Tuesday, the province’s newest minimum wage – set at $15.20 an hour – comes into effect. As well, the liquor server minimum wage of $13.95 an hour is being replaced with the general minimum wage.

The province says that wage has disproportionally affected women.

"About 80 per cent of liquor servers are women, and the low liquor wage is a clear example of the gender pay gap we are fighting to eliminate,” said Grace Lore, parliamentary secretary of gender equity, in a news release.

"Most minimum wage earners are women, often racialized women and newcomers who face barriers to accessing better-paying jobs. We need to work towards wages that workers can actually live on instead of being held back by."

B.C.’s minimum wage is currently $14.60 an hour. It has gradually increased from $11.35 over the past four years.

"Raising the minimum wage will be life-changing for many British Columbians," said Erica Jones, who works in the grocery-store sector, in the news release.

"Making it easier for people to pay their rent and other bills is a step in the right direction but only one tool in the kit to bring people out of poverty. People who make the minimum wage work as hard as anyone else."

According to provincial data, six per cent of B.C. employees earned minimum wage or less in 2020. That same year, 12 per cent of employees made less than $15.20 per hour.

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