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B.C. MLAs vote unanimously for a wage freeze in 2023

Parliamentarians agree an eight per cent pay hike during tough economic times was not a good idea.
The B.C. legislature in Victoria on Dec. 8, 2022. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

In a rare united front, all B.C. MLAs voted in favour of a motion on Tuesday not to accept an inflation-based pay hike in 2023, settling instead for no wage increase next year.

Opposition House Leader Todd Stone said that since 2000, the rate of wage increase for MLAs has been set at the rate of inflation, which has generally been around two per cent.

However, over the past nine months, the rate of inflation has soared and now sits at around eight per cent. This means that the average $115,000 wage for an MLA would have risen to around $125,000 in 2023.

Stone said MLAs had received thousands of emails over the past few months from British Columbians outraged by the idea of these inflation-based wage hikes.

As a result, Stone introduced a motion to direct legislative assembly staff to withhold the administration of the statutory inflation-based increase to basic compensation set for April 1 “until such time that a statutory change in this regard may be brought forward to the legislative assembly’s consideration.”

Stone said this would result in no wage increase in 2023.

He said that what happens in 2024 would depend on what the inflation rate was at that point, particularly whether it has fallen back down to the usual range.

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