VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – A ‘living wage’ in this province is impossible, according to BC’s Labour Minister.

Margaret MacDiarmid is defending the province’s decision to up the minimum hourly wage to $10.25 as of today as labour unions and other groups have been calling for a ‘living wage’ in the range of $19 an hour.

“The last thing we want to do with government policy is to do something that would have an unintended consequence,” she says. “I can tell you that if the so-called ‘living wage’ was made to be the minimum wage, we would see widespread loss of employment, there’s no question, we would see small businesses closing down.  It’s not possible to do that.”

Still, critics say $10.25 an hour is nowhere near enough to get by, especially if you live in the Lower Mainland.

MacDiarmid says it will help students and other full-time minimum wage earners with an extra $4,000 a year.

Today’s minimum wage increase is the final raise in a set of minimum wage increases announced by the BC Government in 2011.