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

Pregnant Cariboo firefighter tries to save own house from blaze

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Road report for Highway 20

Fog patches and slippery sections; Drive BC

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

Mining company prospecting for gold near Bella Coola

Gold discovered in alpine areas where glaciers are receding

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

FOCUS: Canada’s revamped impaired driving law brews ‘potential for injustice’

There must be ‘trigger’ for cops to come knocking, Surrey MP says

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

Former welfare clients still owed money, B.C. Ombudsperson says

Investigation found 2,600 people docked illegally for earning income

Prince George could get province’s second BC Cannabis Store

The first brick-and-mortar government retail location opened in Kamloops on Oct. 17

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Most Read