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

Findlay to be next CPC candidate for South Surrey-White Rock

Former cabinet minister lost 2017 election to Liberal Gordie Hogg

Teenage girl, 17, accused of stabbing girl, 16, in Surrey

Victim’s injuries not life-threatening

Fledgling Surrey City Orchestra tunes up for showcase concert Friday

Conductor Stuart Martin’s four-year goal is to build a core group of about 60 Surrey-based musicians

Fraser Health to buy two private MRI clinics in Surrey, Abbotsford

New clinics will provide 2,000 more MRIs by fiscal year-end

Safe Surrey Coalition opposes removing any property from ALR

McCallum and Pettigrew take issue with a Port Kells proposal to exclude property from the Agricultural Land Reserve

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye salmon

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

Fraser Valley horse trainer suing feed mill after death of five animals

Alicia Harper seeking $500,000 to $1 million in losses and damages from Hi-Pro Feeds

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Most Read