The minimum wage in BC has increased from $14.60 to $15.20 on June 1st and the Greens are showing their support.
The minimum wage
The increase of minimum wage satisfies a promise made by the New Democratic Party (NDP) during their 2017 election campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15.20 by June 1st, 2021. Over the last four years, the minimum wage has been raised by roughly sixty cents each year. This results in a $3.95 increase from the initial minimum wage of $11.25 an hour when the NDP took office in 2017.
Also included in the raise are liquor servers; their pay went from $13.95 an hour to $15.20 an hour. This is different from other provinces such as Ontario and Quebec. Since liquor servers are expected to earn more in tips they are paid a lower hourly rate.
Having surpassed Alberta’s fifteen dollars per hour, B.C is now the province with the highest minimum average wage in Canada. Only in the territory of Nunavut does the minimum rate exceed this number.
The NDP’s changes to employment standards cover more than just the minimum wage rate. These changes include adjustments such as the increase of parental leave and new regulations for overtime work.
The Greens’ Reaction
The B.C. Greens support the new provincial minimum wage made by the NDPs. The Green’s and the NDP campaigned for the change back in 2017. The NDP successfully created a commission for it. The commission, named the Fair Wages Commission, brought together economists and representatives from the private sector to develop recommendations. In 2018, The four-year plan was implemented.
Cowichan Valley MLA, and BC Green leader, Sonia Furstenau, expressed her support for the increase in a press release; “A strong economy is one where everyone can meet their basic needs and live healthy and fulfilling lives.”
While the Greens are happy with the changes that have been made, they believe that more must be done. Sonia Furstenau released a statement on May 31st 2021, “B.C. must continue to work with business, labour, and economists to develop a path towards a livable wage,”. “We are calling on the government to follow the report’s recommendation to make the Fair Wages Commission permanent so that our province can continue to benefit from a depoliticized, evidence-based process.”
The Green’s have made it clear that the Fair Wages Commission should be made permanent in order to provide continuous support for low-income workers. The Greens’ plan for income security includes extra efforts to assist youth and people living with disabilities in the province. The party believes that all of these changes are necessary considering the drastic income inequality in B.C. Sonia Furstenau stated:
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