Today the government announced its intention to use a new at-arm’s-length Fair Wages Commission to establish a pathway to a minimum wage of at least $15 per hour. The Fair Wages Commission will further be tasked with overseeing regular rate reviews. The commission will bring forward recommendations regarding strategies to address the discrepancy between minimum wages and livable wages. It will make its first report on a new minimum wage within 90 days of its first meeting.
The establishment of a Fair Wages Commission was a key element of the B.C. Greens 2017 election platform and was included in the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA). Below I provide my comments on the BC Government’s announcement.
Weaver statement on Fair Wages Commission announcement
For immediate release
August 15, 2017
VICTORIA, BC – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green caucus, issued the following statement today in response to the government’s announcement that it plans to use the Fair Wages Commission to achieve a minimum wage of $15/hour by 2021. The establishment of a Fair Wages Commission was a key element of the B.C. Greens 2017 election platform and was included in the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) signed by Dr. Weaver and Premier Horgan.
“Although I am pleased to see an important piece of our agreement move forward, I am concerned that the apparent addition of a 2021 timeline is prejudicial to the work of the Fair Wages Commission. The Commission falls under the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC NDP and BC Green caucuses. The 2021 timeline had not been agreed upon and is, in fact, contradictory to the intention of depoliticizing the Fair Wages Commission.
“The Fair Wages Commission should determine the timeline for minimum wage increases based on evidence and through consultation with stakeholders. The Commission must consult with small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy, to ensure they can continue to thrive. The timeline and wage increases should not be made for political purposes and should not be arbitrarily set in advance.
“British Columbians are facing skyrocketing costs of living and increasing income insecurity as the economy changes rapidly. Minimum wage is just one way we can move towards all British Columbians having a liveable income. The Fair Wages Commission must be empowered to make recommendations at arms-length based on evidence to ensure that wage increases create better income security for all British Columbians.”
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
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