The BC Federation of Labour has launched the Fight For $15 campaign, calling on the provincial government to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour.
“At the current minimum wage, working full-time is not enough to lift a worker out of poverty,” said Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “It has been almost three years since the last increase to the minimum wage. Workers fall behind when their wage is stagnant, yet the cost of living goes up each year.”
There are more than 120,000 British Columbians earning the minimum wage. Minimum wage workers include mothers, fathers, students and seniors; 47 per cent are older than 25, 63 per cent are women, and eight per cent are 55 or older.
B.C.’s minimum wage is one of the lowest in the country yet our province is the most expensive and unequal, according to Statistics Canada data. B.C. is also the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction plan.
Increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour would put a full-time worker 10 per cent above Statistics Canada’s low income cut-off.
Other cities including Seattle and San Francisco are already moving to a $15/hour minimum wage.
Increasing the minimum wage gives a boost to local economies. Low wage earners are more likely to spend their money at businesses in their neighbourhood.
Businesses may also experience improved employee retention and productivity when employees feel valued and respected.
Public opinion polling suggests that British Columbians agree it is time to increase the minimum wage: 72 per cent support an increase to $15/hour, 75 per cent support making a significant and immediate increase to the minimum wage, and 93 per cent support reviewing and adjusting the minimum wage on a regular basis.
More information on the campaign can be found at Fightfor15bc.ca.