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Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
May 4, 2016
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch
Minimum wage increases coupled with new training supports

VICTORIA – The British Columbia government is increasing the minimum wage in two stages to better reflect the province’s overall economic growth and ensure all workers benefit from B.C.’s success. 

Last year, government announced a policy to index the minimum wage to British Columbia’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). Based on British Columbia’s 2015 CPI, the minimum wage this year would increase by 10 cents per hour. With British Columbia expected to lead the country in economic growth this year and next, the government has decided there is room for an adjustment to the minimum wage rate beyond B.C.’s CPI.

The first increase will be 40 cents and bring the minimum wage rate to $10.85 per hour, effective Sept. 15, 2016. This new rate includes the 10 cents scheduled for the 2015 CPI, plus an additional 30 cents. 

A second increase of 30 cents plus an amount based on the 2016 CPI (estimated to be 10 cents) will bring the minimum wage rate to $11.25, effective Sept. 15, 2017. The 2016 CPI will be available from Statistics Canada by March 2017.

The B.C. government also is reaffirming its commitment to reducing the small business tax rate by 40% by 2017-18. This would mean a small business that is incorporated with $100,000 in active business income would have its taxes go from $2,500 to $1,500, savings of $1,000 annually. 

In addition, the Province is investing $2.88 million in new training programs to help with labour shortages in the province. The programs will be help young people, small businesses and employers in the retail, hospitality, agriculture and aquaculture sectors.

The first program is a $2.38-million investment through the Canada-BC Job Grant. This new Job Grant stream will help businesses invest in training by covering the cost of training a newly hired employee who was unemployed prior to training. The program will include:

  • A new $2-million unemployed stream to the Canada Job Grant that will cover 100% of training costs up to $15,000 per person for an employer who hires an unemployed individual;
  • $300,000 will be targeted to youth under the existing $1-million Underrepresented Groups stream of the Canada Job Grant to support employers training and hiring youth;
  • A $80,000 partnership with Small Business BC as the delivery partner to help small businesses assess their training needs, identify training options and apply for the grant; and
  • Travel costs of participants or trainers as eligible expenses to increase access for businesses in small and remote communities.

The second program is an investment of $500,000 to expand the existing Get Youth Working program. This program currently provides work placement, on-the-job skills training, including short-term certificate training as required, and a wage subsidy. These programs are currently offered throughout B.C. to youth aged 15 to 29 years. These new funds will be earmarked for youth being trained and hired employees in the retail, hospitality, agriculture and aquaculture sectors.

The minimum wage rate for liquor servers also will increase by the same amounts and on the same dates as the general minimum wage. The differential of $1.25 between the general minimum wage and liquor server rate will be maintained.

As well, the daily rate for live-in home-support workers and live-in camp leaders, as well as the monthly rates for resident caretakers and the farm-worker piece rates (for harvesters of certain fruits and vegetables) will increase proportionate to the general minimum hourly wage increases on Sept. 15 in 2016 and 2017.


Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia –

“One of the first actions I took when I became Premier was to raise the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage twice over the next two years, coupled with some targeted supports for young people and businesses, will help everyone share in the benefits of our growing economy.”

Shirley Bond, Minister for Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and Minister Responsible for Labour –

“B.C.’s economy is expected to lead the country in economic growth this year and next. We want to strike a balance where we bring the minimum wage into line with our strong economy. That is why these two increases to the minimum wage will help those earning minimum wage while not impeding businesses’ ability to grow, innovate and hire British Columbians.

Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch –

“We know that small businesses are the backbone of our regional economies. The new Canada–BC Job Grant will cover all the training costs for small businesses that hire and train an unemployed person. This is a win-win situation that helps both small businesses, our tight labour market and these British Columbians.”

Quick Facts:

  • For March 2016, B.C.’s average hourly wage was $25.12 overall and the youth average wage was $14.50.
  • Minimum wage is just one tool in government’s overall effort to help low-income earners.
  • Other tools include tax policy, social supports, education and training. For example:
    • The $24.5-million Single Parent Employment Initiative helps single parents on income or disability assistance secure meaningful jobs by allowing them to stay on income assistance for up to 12 months while they train for their new job. It also provides full tuition and educational costs for approved training programs and covers the full cost of child care during their training and for up to a year once they start working.
    • A single individual can earn more than $19,000 a year before paying any provincial personal income tax. Currently, nearly one million British Columbia residents receive MSP subsidies, including more than 800,000 residents who pay no MSP premiums at all.
    • $3 billion in training and educations funding is being redirected through B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to in-demand jobs. This investment will help British Columbians get the skills they need to move out of minimum wage jobs so they are first in line for the approximately one million jobs openings (one-third from economic growth, two-thirds from retirement) by 2024.

Learn more:

B.C. Employment Standards Branch:

Information on resources to support small businesses in B.C.:

Information on Small Business BC:

Canada-B.C. Job Grant:

The B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint:

Take a look at the recent increases in the minimum wage:

See how many British Columbians earn minimum wage:

Understand who earns minimum wage in B.C.:

Media Contact:
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
and Responsible for Labour
250 387-2799

Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
May 4, 2016
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch
Profile of minimum wage earners in British Columbia

The number of B.C. employees earning minimum wage or less in 2015 was 93,700 out of a total of 1,892,700 paid employees (excluding self-employed).

The percentage of people earning minimum wage declined from 7.5% in 2012 to 5% in 2015.  The national average for people earning minimum wage is 7.1%.

Statistical breakdown of those earning minimum wage in 2015:

By Age, Gender & Education

  • 53,600 or 57% were youth aged 15 to 24 years;
  • 10,900 or 12% were aged 55 years or older;
  • 55,700 or 59% were female; and
  • 30,100 or 32% did not have high school graduation while 11,500 or 12% had a university degree.

By Industry, Job Type & Firm Size

  • 86,800 or 93% were in the service sector;
  • 27,200 or 29% were in trade (including retail trade);
  • 29,900 or 32% were in accommodation and food services; 
  • 40,500 or 43% worked full time and 53,200 or 57% worked part time;
  • 16,900 or 18% had been in their job for three months or less;
  • 43,700 or 47% had been in their job for at least one year;
  • 29,800 or 32% worked in businesses with less than 20 employees; and
  • 40,600 or 43% worked in businesses with more than 500 employees.

By Family Status

  • 21,900 or 23% were a member of a couple;
  • 7,400 or 8% were the head of a family with spouse present;
  • 12,100 or 13% lived as “unattached” (without a spouse or family member); and
  • 51,700 or 55% lived with their parents, and 47% of those were attending school.
Media Contact:
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
and Responsible for Labour
250 387-2799

Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
May 4, 2016
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch
Supporting British Columbia’s small businesses

Government’s ongoing dialogue with the small business community has helped identify opportunities to support growth and job creation. There are five consistent themes that emerge through this ongoing dialogue:

  • the need for assistance with training;
  • a simplified regulatory environment
  • business planning to support growth and expansion
  • help with financing; and
  • a competitive tax climate.

Training Support

  • The Canada - B.C. Jobs Grant has provided over $29 million in training funds to employers to train current or existing employees. The majority of these recipients have been small businesses.
  • The Aboriginal BEST Fund – a partnership between the provincial government, the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement and Vancity Credit Union – provides free job creation and skills training to help to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of people, communities, and organizations.
  • The Province has supported Junior Achievement BC to educate over 35,000 young British Columbians about business. Programs are delivered free of charge by volunteers from local business communities, who bring real-life experience into the classroom.
  • Through its partnership with Futurpreneur, the Province supports volunteers in providing financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18 to 39 years.

Red Tape Reduction

  • OneStop Business Registry provides online access to common business registrations and transactions with all three levels of government. OneStop reduces the steps and frustration involved in registering a business, renewing liquor licenses, changing your business address, and promotes the use of the Business Number as the one common identifier for business with public and private sector partners.
  • BizPal is a partnership with over 129 community partners in B.C., that cuts through the paperwork burden and red tape small business owners encounter, helping them focus on business growth and job creation.
  • The Mobile Business Licence program streamlines and simplifies the licensing process, making it easier to do business in British Columbia by allowing small businesses to operate across 73 participating jurisdictions.
  • The Red Tape Reduction button on the government website allows small business owners and citizens throughout B.C. to submit their ideas on how government can reduce red tape 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Business Planning

  • The Province partners with Small Business BC to provide comprehensive small business information, products and services, assisting business owners with planning, marketing, human resources, financing and website development and many other topics related to starting and growing a business in B.C.
  • The BC Farm Advisory Services Program supports basic financial analyses and specialized business planning that enables agricultural producers to make more informed decisions and strengthen their farm business.

Access to Financing

  • The Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit encourages investors to make equity capital investments in B.C. small businesses, in order to give small businesses access to early-stage venture capital to help them develop and grow. The credit has been increased by $5 million for a total of $35 million available to B.C.’s small businesses annually.
  • The First Citizens Fund supports cultural, educational and economic development for Aboriginal people in British Columbia. In 2001, B.C. doubled the net value of the fund from $36 million to $72 million; interest earned from fund investments supports programs and services to improve the lives of Aboriginal people.
  • The B.C. government has invested $8 million in the Buy Local Program, including $2 million in Budget 2016. The program supports food security in B.C. and helps B.C. farmers and food processors promote their local agrifood and seafood products through buy local initiatives.

Competitive Taxation

  • The Tax Commission on Competitveness announced as part of Budget 2016 will help consider how government addresses issues raised by the small business sector.
  • Through Greenhouse Carbon Tax Relief Grants, the Province has provided carbon tax relief to commercial vegetable, floriculture, wholesale nursery and forest seedling greenhouses since 2012, covering 80% of the carbon tax paid on natural gas and propane used for greenhouse heating and C02 production.

For more information about these and other resources available to support small businesses in B.C., visit:

Media Contact:
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
and Responsible for Labour
250 387-2799

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: