B.C. workers need more than increase in minimum wage: advocate

The minimum wage in British Columbia could see a big bump on June 1, as the provincial government has promised to continue to tie increases to the annual rate of inflation.

But Anastasia French, the provincial manager for Living Wage for Families BC, says even with the anticipated minimum wage increase, more needs to be done.

She says that Metro Vancouver’s living wage is $24.08 an hour, and the current minimum wage sits significantly lower — at $15.65 per hour.


“There’s a $7 an hour gap between the new minimum wage, or what we…think the minimum wage might be, and actually the living wage,” she said.

“It’s vital that as well as continued increases to the minimum wage, the government also takes steps to make life more affordable to look at how they can lower the cost of groceries, lower the cost of rent.”

In 2022, the annual rate of inflation was 6.6 per cent. If the government’s promise were to be fulfilled this year, that means employers could be on the hook for topping up wages by about $1 more per hour.

Related article: B.C. workers, businesses await minimum wage news

Although French says the increase wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, she says workers are “struggling.”

“Life has got really expensive right now, as we’ve all seen every time we go to the grocery store, every time we try and pay rent, anything, things are getting really expensive and it’s vital that workers can earn enough to pay for those necessities,” she said.


“In order to be able to pay for essentials like food and rent, they have to work multiple jobs often to make ends meet, or they have to cut back on necessities. And the things they have to cut back on are things like food and rent, and things which you can’t really cut back on,” she said.

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“Costs are going up far higher than 7 per cent for essentials and necessities like food. Every time we go to the grocery store, we see that things are really, really expensive right now,” she said.

French adds that employers could benefit by paying staff even more than the minimum wage.

“We’re in the middle of a labour shortage right now. I hear from employers all the time that they’re really struggling to find staff to help do basic jobs. So by paying them a higher wage, higher than the minimum wage, actually, helps them and it makes business sense, and it also produces money that goes back into the local economy,” she said.

-With files from OMNI News and Monika Gul