B.C. Greens leader Andrew Weaver and NDP leader John Horgan speak to reporters in Victoria after their agreement to cooperate. (BLACK PRESS)

B.C. Green leader gets his way on minimum wage

NDP drops 2021 deadline for reaching $15 an hour

The NDP government has dropped its 2021 deadline for raising B.C.’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, after objections from B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

“We are still committed to a $15-an-hour minimum wage to make life better for people in B.C.,” Labour Minister Harry Bains said Friday. “However, we are a minority government and working with other parties means compromising sometimes while holding true to your values.”

The Green-NDP minority government agreement included Weaver’s pre-election commitment to establish a Fair Wages Commission, but did not include a deadline.

“The Fair Wages Commission should determine the timeline for minimum wage increases based on evidence and thorough consultation with stakeholders,” Weaver said Aug. 15 when the NDP announced their target. “The commission must consult with small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy, to ensure that they can continue to thrive.”

The $15 minimum wage target was first set by the B.C. Federation of Labour, which viewed the 2021 target as too slow.

Bains was also blasted by the B.C. Liberals for announcing a 50-cent increase in the minimum wage, which the previous government had already committed to. Chilliwack MLA John Martin said the NDP government is being vague about its plans to impose higher minimum wages on business.

“The Fair Wage Commission and the 2021 promise look like another NDP charade,” Martin said. “That’s probably why Minister Bains didn’t mention it in his news release. He knows that small businesses are going to get the short end of the stick and tried to pull a fast one.”