The minimum wage in B.C. will increase in two stages, with the first being Wednesday, Sept. 15.

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 Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus an additional 30 cents, according to a press release.

“B.C.’s economy is expected to lead the country in economic growth this year and next,” says MLA for Prince George-Valemount, Shirley Bond.

“We want to strike a balance where we bring the minimum wage into line with our strong economy,” she says.

The rationale for raising the minimum wage in two stages, the province says, to better reflect the province’s overall economic growth and ensure all workers benefit from B.C.’s success.

The second increase of 30 cents will be effective on the same date, Sept. 15, but of 2017, bringing the minimum wage rate to $11.25.

“One of the first actions I took when I became Premier was to raise the minimum wage,” says Premier Christy Clark.

“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,” she says.

The B.C. government says it is also reaffirming its commitment to reducing the small business tax rate by 40 per cent 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 ” a savings of $1,000 annually.

In addition, back in May the Province announced it would be investing $2.88 million in new training programs to help with labour shortages in the province. The programs are said to help young people, small businesses and employers in the retail, hospitality, agriculture, and aquaculture sectors.