Most people living in poverty are working, and the majority of poor children in BC live in families with parents who work in the paid labour force. The increased minimum wage of $11.25 an hour is still not enough to allow workers to escape poverty. A single person working full-time, full-year at $11.25 would still be below the poverty line in Vancouver and other large cities in the province, and a person with a child would be far below. Earnings must be high enough to enable people to make ends meet.
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all workers and index it to the cost of living.
- Restore the coverage and enforcement of employment standards.
- Become a living wage employer of provincial government staff and contractors; and encourage other employers to adopt the living wage for families.
A “living wage” is one of the most powerful tools to address poverty. It is not the same as the minimum wage, which is the legal statutory minimum all employers must pay. It reflects what a family needs to bring home, based on the actual costs of living and raising children in a specific community. A living wage allows families to escape poverty and severe financial stress, participate fully in their communities, and ensure healthy child development.
For more information, please read the following resources:
- Take Action for a strong Poverty Reduction Strategy
- Participate in the Fair Wages Commission
- The Fight for $15 Campaign Website
- The Living Wage for Families Campaign Website
- Working Poverty in Metro Vancouver (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office, the United Way of the Lower Mainland, and the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, June 2016)
- Submission to Minister of Labour Harry Bains for Immediate Action on Employment Standards Reform (BC Employment Standards Coalition, September 2018)
- Workers’ stories of exploitation & abuse: Why BC Employment Standards Need To Change (BC Employment Standards Coalition, July 2017)
- 5 things you should know about poverty in BC
- “What does a poverty reduction plan for BC look like?” Poster
- BC Poverty Reduction Coalition’s submission to the Poverty Reduction Consultations
- BC Poverty Reduction Coalition policy recommendations
- Long Overdue: Why BC needs a poverty reduction plan