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Cost of Living adjustment confirmed

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:53 PDT, Tue March 21, 2023

B.C. public-sector employees with ratified collective agreements will get the maximum cost-of-living adjustment for their year 2 wage increase.

BC Stats has released the Consumer Price Index Highlights report for February 2023, which confirms that the general wage increase for the second year of the Shared Recovery Mandate will be 6.75 per cent. This is comprised of the 5.5 per cent guaranteed general wage increase and the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that is capped at 1.25 per cent.

The COLA is based on the annualized average of the B.C. Consumer Price Index (CPI) during the previous 12-month period of March to February. For the year 2 wage increase, the 12-month B.C. CPI average must exceed the guaranteed 5.5 per cent general wage increase to trigger the additional cost-of-living adjustment. The amount of the additional increase is the difference between the 12-month average and the guaranteed general wage increase up to the maximum of 1.25 per cent. The 12-month B.C. CPI average from March 2022 to February 2023 reported today is 7.1 per cent.

While it is not used for the purposes of determining the cost-of-living adjustments under the mandate, the current year-over-year B.C. inflation rate is 6.2 per cent. This rate has decreased significantly since November 2022. 

The same COLA calculation will be used for the third year of ratified agreements, which includes a 2 per cent guaranteed general wage increase plus a potential COLA capped at 1 per cent. 

Government committed to capped cost-of-living adjustments under the Shared Recovery Mandate to ensure that increases are affordable now and in the future.

Negotiations under the Shared Recovery Mandate focus on providing a fair and reasonable offer to public-sector workers that includes inflation protection, while ensuring government has the resources to continue to invest in building a stronger province for everyone.

Key priorities of the 2022 mandate include:

  • protecting the services that people in British Columbia depend on;
  • improving health care and preparing for future needs and challenges; and
  • supporting a strong economic recovery that includes everyone in B.C.

More than 295,000 or 75 per cent of provincial public-sector employees are covered by tentative or ratified agreements reached under B.C.’s Shared Recovery Mandate, including teachers and support staff in kindergarten to Grade 12 public education, nearly all health-sector employees and workers in community social services, as well as some major Crown corporations and research universities.

Total compensation to support the vital public services that British Columbians rely on costs approximately $38.6 billion annually, roughly half of the province’s budget.

Learn about public-sector bargaining in B.C.:

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