Our submission to the Fair Wages Commission

On November 23, BC Employment Standards Coalition Co-Chair David Fairey made a submission in Vancouver to the Fair Wages Commission as part of its consultation. The submission contains detailed responses to questions from the Commission including, “What is a reasonable timeframe or schedule of increases in the minimum wage to reach $15-an-hour?” and “What are your experiences or thoughts about the farm workers piece rates in B.C.?”

Please click here to read our full submission.

Tell the BC gov’t that minimum wage for all workers should be $15 per hour

Photo of woman holding Fight for 15 sign outside of Walmart Supercentre

Photo: Global Research

 Now is your chance to tell the provincial government that the minimum wage for all workers should be $15 per hour – NOW. Please spread the word by sharing this poster!

The NDP provincial government has appointed an independent Fair Wages Commission to advise the government on when and how the general minimum wage should be increased to $15 per hour.

Currently, the legislated general minimum wage is $11.35 per hour, but a number of occupations are excluded from the general minimum wage. This includes liquor servers for whom the minimum wage is $1.25 less at $10.10 per hour, and farm workers who hand harvest fruits, berries and vegetables for whom there is no hourly minimum wage, only minimum piece rates.

The Fair Wages Commission is inviting anyone interested in the minimum wage issue to share their views on the issue, either through a written submission by e-mail or in person at one of eight consultation meetings of the Commission to be held around BC from November 16th to December 7th.

Visit The Fair Wages Commission for details and directions.

You can request to make a submission at any one of the eight consultation meeting locations by e-mailing FWC@gov.bc.ca

The deadline for making written submissions by e-mail is December 7, 2017. Instructions for written submissions are here. Written submissions can be emailed to: FWC@gov.bc.c

Tell the Fair Wages Commission that all workers without exclusion should receive a $15 hourly minimum wage – NOW!

New op-ed: Unjust treatment of farm workers should end

BC Employment Standards Coalition members Gurpreet Pabla and David Fairey published an opinion piece in the online version of The Province on the minimum piece-rate system for farm workers (separate wage rules apply to migrant farm workers hired under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program). You can read it here: Unjust treatment of farm workers should end. Their article was also published in the Georgia Straight. Thanks to the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for assisting with the publication process.

New article: Policy tools needed to improve livelihoods for farmers and farm workers in BC

While the BC Jobs Plan has focused on increasing the number of jobs in the province, many have raised concerns about quality of those jobs. For instance, how effectively does the province’s job-creation plan promote job security, enforced occupational health and safety protections, remuneration that is fair and liveable, and opportunities for workers to participate in workplace decisions that affect their lives? In particular, how does the BC Jobs Plan affect workers who are already at a high risk of poverty and precarious work, including racialized newcomers, migrant workers, and Indigenous peoples in BC?

In response to these concerns, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives hosted a conference in November to gather ideas for creative policy tools to create good jobs in BC. As part of the conference, BC Employment Standards Coalition member Anelyse Weiler, along with UBC researchers Dennis J. and Hannah Wittman, contributed a paper focused on farmers, farm workers and food security in British Columbia. Growing Good Agricultural Jobs in British Columbia considers the tensions within the current political-economic context between advancing dignified livelihoods for farm employers and hired workers. However, the authors argue that this tension is not inevitable, and that key policy changes can help to advance livelihood self-determination and better job quality for both farmers and farm workers.

Recently, the Vancouver Sun published an op-ed highlighting some of the ideas proposed in the longer paper by Weiler, Dennis and Wittman: In growing good jobs for B.C.’s economy, we’ve been neglecting a key ingredient.


Coalition membered interviewed for article in the South Delta Leader

In a recent article for the South Delta Leader, Coalition member Jeremy Bryant was interviewed about his advocacy volunteer work alongside farmworkers in Delta. He discusses the lack of fairness in Canada’s “guest” farmworker programs, and points out the need for those who are employed under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) or the agricultural stream of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) to be offered a route to citizenship.

Read the article here: Critics say the temporary foreign worker program is replacing immigration.