The BC Federation of Labour believes the province’s plan to up the minimum hourly rate is a step in the right direction but wants more.

The rate will go up to $11.35/hour this time next month, and the NDP’s promised $15/hour by 2021, but President Irene Lanzinger wants that ultimate goal to come much sooner.

“Alberta will be up to $15.00/h in October of 2018. Ontario will be there in January 2019 and those are the two provinces that are most similar to us in size and economy and I would argue BC is more expensive than those provinces,” she says, “$11.35 as the minimum wage will not lift a single worker out of poverty and still essentially a poverty wage but when we get to 15 that will mean people’s wages are above the poverty line if they work full time.”

She realizes this could hurt mom and pop shops, but realizes it’s usually large corporations that pay minimum wage.

“McDonald’s will pay wages upwards of $18/hour in some other jurisdictions if it’s required so we do recognize that business need warning but we also say it’s not fair for people to work for poverty wages.”

The province will soon create a fair wages commission, which Lanzinger plans to meet with and share her recommendations.