Minister of Labour Harry Bains took the next step toward raising British Columbia’s lowest paid workers with the official launch of the Fair Wages Commission.
The commission, which will function at an arm's length to government, is tasked with putting forward a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and making recommendations to address the discrepancy between the minimum wage and living wages. They will also be considering and making recommendations around other wage rates under the Employment Standards Regulation.
“No one working full time in British Columbia should be living beneath the poverty line,” said Bains. “We’re going to lift up B.C.’s lowest paid workers to help make life more affordable.”
Professor and economist Marjorie Griffin Cohen will oversee the work of the commission as chair, with vice-president of the B.C. Business Council Ken Peacock and union leader Ivan Limpright as members.
“I’m hopeful our work will strengthen the economy, while serving as a stepping stone towards lifting people out of poverty,” said Cohen.
“We welcome the establishment of a fair wages commission, which was a B.C. Green Party policy put forth in our 2017 election platform. B.C. workers and businesses are increasingly facing challenges arising out of trends like increasing unaffordability, the gig economy, automation, and the increasing prevalence of contract and part-time work. It is vital that this commission take into account these trends in a non-partisan fashion, as it advises on strategies to achieve the ultimate goal of ensuring all British Columbians have livable incomes,” said Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.
The Fair Wages Commission has been directed to work with economists, trade unions, the technology sector, small businesses, youth and others from all regions of the province to put forward a plan to bridge the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage in British Columbia.