British Columbia may only be Canada’s third-largest province, but it offers the second-highest minimum wage in Canada. In June 2022, the government of B.C officially increased the minimum wage to $15.65, tying it to inflation and guaranteeing fair pay for employees throughout the province.
Below, I’ll answer some of the top questions about minimum wage in B.C, tax rates, and explain how overtime laws affect minimum wage workers.
Vancouver is the capital city of British Columbia. It’s known for being one of the most expensive cities in Canada (second only to Toronto, ON), and is a business hub for a number of international companies. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that B.C has one of the highest minimum wage rates in Canada.
Currently, the minimum wage in Vancouver, B.C is $15.65 per hour.
Even salaried employees and commission-based salespeople must earn at least $15.65 per hour. If their hours worked along with their salaries or sales commissions don’t equate to the employee earning at least $15.65 per hour, the employer must compensate them for the difference.
The $15.65 minimum wage in B.C applies to any employee working standard hours. However, employees are also entitled to overtime pay, depending on the extra hours that they work on a given day or week.
A work week is generally considered to be 40 hours. However, B.C workers are also entitled to daily overtime pay, as follows:
- Employee works more than 8 hours (up to 12 hours): 1.5x regular pay
- Employee works more than 12 hours: 2x regular pay
For example, if you earn minimum wage ($15.65) and work 10 hours in a single day, you’ll receive 8 hours worth of base pay and 2 hours worth of overtime pay at $23.48 per hour (1.5 x $15.65).
If you’re really pushing the clock and you work a long 14-hour day, then they’ll receive:
- 8 hours of standard pay
- 4 hours of 1.5x overtime pay
- 2 hours of double-time pay
Overtime wage laws protect workers by making it costly for companies to exploit employees beyond a reasonable amount. However, these laws also reward employees who are willing to go the extra mile or need to earn extra money.
B.C currently has one of the highest minimum wages in Canada. However, many of the cities in the province are also known for being more expensive. The cost of groceries, rent, fuel, and other essentials are more expensive in B.C than say, Saskatchewan.
If you’re working a standard 40-hour work week and earning minimum wage, it is possible to live on minimum wage. However, to live on minimum wage in B.C, you would need to be very frugal and make financially responsible choices, such as:
- Live with several roommates to split rent
- Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle
- Use coupons while grocery shopping
- Have cheap hobbies
If you’re a minimum wage earner in B.C and you’re having trouble keeping up with bills, I recommend starting a side hustle to bring in some extra income.
You could join the gig economy and get paid as a courier, rideshare driver, or even a dog walker. Alternatively, you could start freelancing online and earn up to $25 per hour or more!
While Alberta may have been the first province to instate a $15 minimum wage (back in 2018), B.C was the first province to guarantee minimum wage increases according to inflation. This means that B.C’s lowest-paid workers could receive an even higher minimum wage in the future (if inflation rises).
Several provinces have minimum wage laws that provide an exception for students under 18. For example, workers who are both minors and students in Alberta must be paid at least $13 per hour, which is two dollars less than the province’s standard minimum wage of $15 per hour.
B.C doesn’t provide a minimum wage exception for students. All B.C students must be paid at least $15.65 per hour, regardless of age, student status, or work experience.
This is great news for younger workers who want to enter the workforce and start earning some side money.
If you’re a full-time worker earning minimum wage, then you’ll likely earn just over $32,000 per year, before taxes are taken out. This would place you in the lowest tax bracket in B.C.
The tax brackets for British Columbia are as follows:
|Taxable Income Amount||B.C Tax Rate|
|$0 to $43,070||5.06%|
|$43,070.01 to $86,141||7.70%|
|$86,141.01 to $98,901||10.50%|
|$98,901.01 to $120,094||12.29%|
|$120,094.01 to $162,832||14.70%|
|$162,832.01 to $227,091||16.80%|
|Over $227,091 2||0.5%|
In short, as a minimum wage worker, you can expect to pay 5.06% B.C income tax.
That being said, B.C has a basic personal amount of $11,302. Minimum wage earners won’t be taxed on this amount but will be required to pay the 5.06% B.C income tax on any amount over this, up to $43,070
Minimum wage earners in Alberta have a higher income tax rate of 10%, which is nearly double that of B.C’s 5.06% income tax rate (for the lowest tax bracket in the province).
However, Alberta offers nearly double the basic personal amount compared to B.C. This means that Alberta residents will only pay the 10% income tax on earnings over $19,369 (the basic personal amount in Alberta).
With this in mind, minimum wage earners in B.C can expect their taxes to be similar to minimum wage earners in Alberta.
When B.C increased its minimum wage to $15.65 in June 2022, the government decided to tie the minimum wage to the current rate of inflation.
So, if inflation continues going into the future, then B.C residents can expect to see increased wages. If the inflation rate remains steady, though, it may be a while before the minimum wage is increased.
Find out what the minimum wages are for the rest of Canada here.
Are you tired of earning minimum wage?
If so, then picking up a side hustle might be the perfect solution. You’ll generally earn more than minimum wage, and you’ll have the flexibility to create your own schedule. Keep on reading to see my list of the best side hustles for Canadians!