David Fairey, co-chair of the BC Employment Standards Coalition, contributed this critique of BC’s minimum wage policy to The Tyee last week. According to StatsCan, BC now has the highest overall poverty rate in Canada, despite its wealth of natural and human resources.
Two of of our Coalition members, Anelyse Weiler and Dr. Gerardo Otero, co-wrote an op-ed that was published in today’s Vancouver Sun. This issue is particularly pertinent in light of the Canadian Border Services Agency raids on construction workers in Vancouver this week.
The op-ed focuses on the need to enforce existing labour safety and health standards for precariously employed migrant workers in BC, and also on the need to provide opportunities for permanent citizenship for all “guest” workers. Citizenship certainly wouldn’t resolve all issues of inequality and labour safety for migrant workers. Nonetheless, it’s a practical step that would go a long way toward reducing the systemic exploitation of this group of workers, who contribute tremendously to our collective well-being (and pay taxes).
BC’s spring election is an opportunity to let provincial decision makers know that you want to see basic labour rights for all workers strongly integrated into our employment system. The BC Employment Standards Coalition just released a comprehensive set of proposals, including model legislation, to promote rights and protections for the province’s migrant workers. Please help us share these proposals with your MLA, and let decision makers know how the provincial government can help reverse a trend that would exacerbate economic inequality in Canada as a whole.