Most people living in poverty are working, and almost a third of the poor children in BC live in families with at least one parent working full-time. The current minimum wage ($10.45/hour and set to hit $11.25 by 2017) 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.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-BC Office, the United Way of the Lower Mainland and the BC Poverty Reduction Coaltion recently released a report entitled Working Poverty in Metro Vancouver. The majority (61%) of Metro Vancouverites who are stuck below the poverty line despite having a job are of “prime working age”—30 to 54 years. Just over half of the working poor are married or living common law, and 42% have dependent children.
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour and index the wage to inflation, and encourage employers to adopt a Living Wage.
- Improve enforcement of employment standards.
Fight for $15
On September 15th, a small increase to BC’s minimum wage will be implemented. But 40 cents is far less than people need to get above the poverty line. The Fight for $15 Campaign is organizing a “Skytrain Blitz” to circulate info and collect petition signatures to increase BC’s minimum wage to $15/hr.
Sign up for the Burnaby Fight for $15 Skytrain Blitz 3pm-5pm, September 15th, Metrotown Station
Sign up for the Surrey Fight For $15 Skytrain Blitz 5pm-7pm, September 15th, Surrey Central Station
Living Wage for Families Campaign
The Living wage for Families Campaign encourages employers to pay a living wage as well as advocates for government policies that would help families make ends meet. A living wage is the hourly amount a family needs to cover basic expenses.
These basic expenses include:
- Rental housing
- Child care
- Small savings to cover illness or emergencies
The living wage calculation is based on a two-parent family with two children – the most common family unit in BC – and each parent working full-time. The current living wage rate for Metro Vancouver is $20.64/hour. You can find living wage rates across BC here.
Good public policy can lower the Living Wage. For example, although the cost of living continues to rise, the new, more generous Canada Child Benefit boosts family incomes enough to absorb the higher costs leading to a 2016 living wage that is 4 cents less than 2015’s.
Congratulations to Quesnel on becoming the second municipality in Canada to implement a living wage policy!!!
Are you interested in becoming a Living Wage Employer? Click here.
Sign petitions, join the campaign and more here.
“Tell Us About Your Bad Job”
The BC Employment Standards Coalition is working for better employment laws and stronger enforcement for non-union workers. They are hosting a series of Workers Forums across the lower mainland where you can share your story of a bad employer and how hard it is to file a complaint against the same employer. They may be able to help you with an employment standards complaint, and the story that you share, anonymously if desired, will be recorded, assembled with others into a submission to government and publicised.
You don’t need an appointment, just drop by one of the following locations during the posted times:
Tuesday, October 11th, from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
5783 – 176A Street (Unifor Local 780-G Hall)
Wednesday, October 12th, from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm
Bonsor Recreation Complex, South Burnaby Metro Club Room
6550 Bonsor Ave, Burnaby
Thursday, October 13th, from 3:30 pm to 9:00 pm
BCGEU Office, Tsawwassen Room,
130 – 2920 Virtual Way (near the Renfrew Skytrain Station)
Northeast Burnaby & Coquitlam
Monday, October 17th, from 3:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Cameron Community Centre, Cedar Room
9523 Cameron Street, Burnaby (near Lougheed Mall & Skytrain)
Wednesday, October 19th, from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Vancouver Public Library in the Alma VanDusen Room
Thursday, October 20th, from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
326 – 12th Street (Unifor Western Region Office)