B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains (Black Press)

Most B.C. minimum wage earners ‘aren’t poor,’ report says

Four out of five live with parents or a higher-wage earner

As B.C. prepares to increase its minimum wage to $12.65 an hour on June 1, a new study suggests that it will do little to reduce poverty.

More than 84 per cent of B.C.’s minimum wage earners don’t live in low-income families, the Fraser Institute found in an analysis of federal low-income statistics that define poverty in Canada.

In 2017, more than 55 per cent of minimum wage earners in B.C. were aged 15 to 24, and 78 per cent of them lived with parents or other relatives.

And more than 22 per cent of the same group had an employed spouse, of which 93.1 per cent earned more than the minimum wage or were self-employed. Only two per cent of minimum wage earners were single parents with young children.

“Contrary to widely held misperceptions, the vast majority of minimum age earners in B.C. aren’t poor, and they are rarely the primary or sole income earner in their household,” said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute. “The majority are, in fact, teenagers and young adults living with their parents.”

The June 1 increase from $11.35 to $12.65 an hour is part of the B.C. NDP government’s pledge to raise the minimum wage in steps to $15.20 by 2021. That’s a 34 per cent increase in three years, and it meets a long-standing demand of the B.C. Federation of Labour that the minimum wage reach $15 an hour.

Labour Minister Harry Bains announced in April that the lower minimum wage for liquor servers is also being phased out, with larger increases until it matches the general hourly rate in 2021.

RELATED: Small businesses expect to cut staff

The latest increase comes as the B.C. government is under pressure from business groups about its health care payroll tax. Finance Minister Carole James disputed a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade study that said two thirds of small businesses said they expect to pay the tax. The employer health tax is being phased in starting January 2019.

Just Posted

Cost of living going up while wages are going down in Tofino and Ucluelet

The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s Vital Signs Report shows need to diversify economy.

Extreme waves and king tides expected around Tofino and Ucluelet this weekend

Extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Ucluelet says goodbye to town’s only sports bar

“It started off big and we’re on the backside of the mountain now.”

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

Most Read