B.C Premier Christy Clark has ruled out a $15 hourly minimum wage sought by some advocates, but says she's open to more gradual hikes in the province's current $10.25 wage.
Ms. Clark says the province's economy is too fragile for the shock of the $15 target advocated by the B.C. Federation of Labour and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, among others.
Instead, Ms. Clark told reporters at the legislature this week that her government would look for a "predictable way" for the minimum wage to increase.
"Small businesses and medium-sized businesses have said that's what they would like, too, because they know it's going to go up but they want to know that it's going to go up in a predictable way so that they can plan for it ahead of time," Ms. Clark said.
"That's the commitment and (Jobs) minister, Shirley Bond, is working on a way to make sure we deliver on that right now."
The premier did not provide other details on how her plan might work.
Ms. Clark noted that, after she became premier in 2011, she raised the minimum wage for the first time in a decade. She has since raised the wage three times. The last increase was to $10.25 in 2012.
But Mayor Robertson, on Thursday, said the premiers' plan was not enough to address the issues of affordability that prompted him to support the $15 wage.
"I want to see it go up. That's up to the province to take those steps. I would argue we need a bigger jump than slow, incremental change," he told reporters at an unrelated news conference in Burnaby, B.C.
The former businessman said minimum-wage hikes have not affected businesses in the province. Instead, he said they were able to deal with the change.
After Mr. Robertson was re-elected for a third term last November, he offered a high-profile endorsement of the B.C. Federation of Labour push for a $15 wage during a rally held in Vancouver at the federation's biannual convention.
Ms. Bond has previously noted the number of B.C. workers earning the minimum wage has dropped and that the average B.C. hourly wage is more than $24 an hour and the average hourly youth wage more than $14 an hour.
Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Federation of Labour, rejected Ms. Clark's incremental approach.
On Thursday, she said the minimum wage should be increased to $15 as a prelude to a discussion about enacting further anti-poverty measures.
She said the federation will continue to argue for an increase and that public pressure may lead to a change in Ms. Clark's views.
"We have to hope that moves the government," she said.