Liquor server minimum wage reinforces sexism

BC Employment Standards Coalition members Kaitlyn Matulewicz and co-chair David Fairey published an important new op-ed in this week’s Vancouver Sun about the often-ignored linkage between provincial tipping regulations and sexual harassment:

the dependence workers have on customers for tips leaves workers vulnerable to enduring sexual harassment and sexualized behaviour from customers as a “price” to be paid for a tip — a form of institutionalized quid pro quo. If workers do resist by, for example, speaking up against customers who are harassing them, they risk losing a tip.

You can read the article in full at this link.

New documentary “Migrant Dreams” at DOXA Film Festival May 7th

Migrant workers, activists with Justicia for Migrant Workers and the filmmakers celebrating the sold-out premiere of Migrant Dreams in Toronto on May 1st, 2016.

Migrant workers, activists with Justicia for Migrant Workers and the filmmakers celebrating the sold-out premiere of Migrant Dreams in Toronto on May 1st, 2016.

Award-winning filmmaker Min Sook Lee’s new 90-minute film Migrant Dreams will be screening this week in Vancouver. This documentary explores the stories of migrant workers from Mexico, Jamaica, and Southeast Asia employed under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in the greenhouses of Leamington, Ontario.

Migrant Dreams depicts how, for many farm workers, the dream of a well-paying job becomes a nightmare when they are deceived into paying outrageous fees to brokers and recruiters, and how their employers impose curfews, confiscate passports, and charge exorbitant rental fees for cockroach-infested apartments. This investigative exposé documents the struggle of a group of women from Indonesia who, with the help of Evelyn and Cathy, two tireless community activists, take a stand and confront their employer. Thus, it not only focuses on structural conditions of exploitation for migrant workers, but also their stories of strength, resilience and love.

The film will be shown on Saturday, May 7th, at Cinematheque in Vancouver, starting at 2:00 PM. Ticket information:

Interview with Min Sook Lee and Evelyn Encalada on CBC’s The Current:

No April Fool’s Joke – Lowest Minimum Wage in Canada


As of today, BC’s minimum wage is the lowest in Canada. Communities are rallying to send Fight for $15 National Day of Action Poster - Vancouvera strong message to Premier Clark: we need a $15/hour minimum wage.

Friday, April 15th is a huge day for the Fight for $15 campaign. It is Canada’s first official Fight for $15 National Day of Action. The BC Employment Standards Coalition supports this campaign, led by the BC Federation of Labour, and those who are joining with allied campaigns right across Canada and the United States in the fight for fair wages.

The rally will take place at Canada Place in Vancouver on Friday, April 15th at 5:00 pm. There will be music, performers, and speeches to help send a message to Christy Clark and the BC Liberal Government that low pay is not okay! Join in for an after party at the Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir St, starting at 6:30 pm.

Please bring your colleagues, friends, and family to this critical rally. Let’s ensure our voices are heard.

RSVP here or on Facebook.

If you are not in the Lower Mainland, you can support the day of action on Twitter #fightfor15bc and on Facebook by sharing posts and photos. If you’d like to organize an event in your community, contact the BC Federation of Labour office at 604-430-1421.

Together, we can build an economy that works for everyone.

Guaranteed sick days for workers in Canada

In this week’s The Province, family physicians Dr. Danyaal Raza and Dr. Ryan Meili call for guaranteed sick leave across Canada.

Back in November, we posted about a campaign launched by our health worker colleagues in Ontario calling for paid sick leave and an end to requiring doctor’s notes. At present, the only province in Canada with guaranteed sick leave entitlement in its employment standards legislation is Prince Edward Island (one day of sick leave after five years of continuous employment with the same employer). In their op-ed, Raza and Meili suggest looking to San Francisco as a model for progressive paid sick leave policies.

You can read their op-ed here.