Representatives of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition presented to the Fair Wages Commission this week. Chaka Weekes and Georgia Brown from the Community Action Network presented on how the minimum wage impacted their lives.
Christine Mettler (in the video above), the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition’s Regional Coordinator presented in Kelowna on Tuesday, while Laura Bennett, our Northern Regional Coordinator will present in Prince George next week. On Thursday, in Vancouver, Community Organizer Trish Garner articulated the Coalition’s recommendations:
Workers tell us they needed an increase to the minimum wage to $15 an hour yesterday but, as a concession to business, we recommend incremental increases to reach $15 an hour by January 2019.
On the issue of exemptions, given the sorry state of the general minimum wage that I have outlined, I hope it is unnecessary to detail why no-one should be paid any less than that.
We recommend that all workers be paid the minimum wage with no exceptions.
The minimum wage should not be left to get so out of touch with the cost of living again so we recommend attaching future increases to a defined measure, such as setting it at a percentage above the Market Basket Measure poverty line, which tracks cost of living with regional differences.
Further, there is a continued role for the Commission to play in ensuring this in the future so we recommend the establishment of a Permanent Fair Wages Commission:
- To include recommendations on stronger employment standards and enforcement
- And other provisions to close the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage
- To ensure that low wage workers voices and experiences are driving these changes
Read Trish’s full presentation here.
Media Coverage of the Kelowna presentation:
Read BCPRC member, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s submission.