Submission to the Fair Wages Commission

The BC Government’s Fair Wages Commission works independently to advise government on how to raise minimum wages with increases that are regular, measured, and predictable. The Commission is committed to three main tasks:

  1. To develop recommendations for a pathway forward to raise the minimum wage to $15-an-hour and on a process for how the minimum wage should be regularly reviewed and increased once $15-an-hour is achieved. (Completed)
  2. To consider and make recommendations about other wage rates under the Employment Standards Regulation, for agricultural workers, liquor servers, live-in home support workers, resident caretakers, and live-in camp leaders. (Completed)
  3. To advise the government on ways to begin to address the discrepancy between the minimum wage and a living wage in our province.

The Federation has advocated for the rise of the minimum wage to $15, has submitted recommendations for changes to the Employment Standards Act, and has now also provided recommendations on ways to begin addressing the discrepancy between the minimum wage and a living wage in BC.

Over the past several decades the cost of tuition fees and living expenses like rent have skyrocketed, forcing more students to have to work while going to school. In British Columbia 41.6% of full-time students, and 84% of part-time students are now working alongside their studies1. Students are often working minimum wage jobs because of their part-time availability, and the fluctuating cycle of the school year limit their employment opportunities.

At present the living wage in most regions of the province is far above BC’s minimum wage. While it may seem counterintuitive, reducing the living wage is the most equitable and straightforward way to reduce the discrepancy between it and the minimum wage. Because the living wage is affected by a series of affordability factors, changes to government policies to provide British Columbians with services at a lower cost can reduce the rate of the living wage. For example, the recent government investment in affordable childcare has already lowered the living wage this year.

Read the full submission here: Closing the Gap Between the Living Wage and the Minimum Wage in British Columbia