B.C.’s minimum wage rose again on Tuesday, Nov. 1, to $9.50 per hour, as the second in three increase increments is implemented.
In 2001, when the B.C. Liberals were first elected, the province’s minimum wage was the highest in Canada. Ten years passed with no increase in the rate which, at $8 an hour, had fallen to the lowest in Canada.
In March of this year, Premier Christy Clark announced an incremental increase in the rate. On May 1, the minimum wage increased to $8.75 an hour, while the $6 per hour training wage (applicable to first-time employees for the first 500 hours of employment) was eliminated in May.
The Nov. 1 raise to $9.50 an hour makes B.C.’s minimum wage the fourth-highest in the nation. The rate will jump one final time, to $10.25 an hour on May 1, 2012.
Exempt from the minimum-wage increases are servers of alcohol, who will see their hourly rate rise to $8.75 on Nov. 1 to top out at $9 an hour on May 1, 2012.
As of today, Alberta has the country’s lowest minimum wage, at $9.40 per hour ($9.05 for liquor servers). Ontario has the highest rate, at $10.25 per hour, but also has a tiered system that pays $8.90 to liquor servers and $9.60 to students under 18. Alberta, B.C. and Ontario are the only provinces to have a tiered structure for minimum wage.