Marjorie Griffin Cohen is introduced as chair of B.C.’s Fair Wages Commission by Labour Minister Harry Bains, B.C. legislature, Oct. 5, 2017

Economist, union president named to Fair Wages Commission

B.C. Business Council vice-president also named to minimum wage panel

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains has appointed retired Simon Fraser University professor Marjorie Griffin Cohen to chair the Fair Wages Commission, which must decide how quickly to increase B.C.’s minimum wage.

Griffin Cohen is best known as a founder of the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives, an Ottawa-based think tank with support from trade unions. Also appointed is Ivan Limpright, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union and a vice-president of the B.C. Federation of Labour. B.C. Business Council vice president Ken Peacock is the third member.

Bains did not provide a timeline for recommendations on the minimum wage increase.

“The Fair Wages Commission has been directed to work with economists, trade unions, the technology sector, small businesses, youth and others from all regions of the province to put forward a plan to bridge the gap between the minimum wage in British Columbia,” the labour ministry said in a statement.

The issue has been a sticking point for the B.C. Green Party, which demanded and got a commitment from the NDP government to remove its deadline of 2021 to reach a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Green leader Andrew Weaver said the independent commission should decide how quickly the minimum wage rises, after consultations with small business. He objected to the decision being made by NDP politicians, as the B.C. Federation of Labour complained it considers 2021 too slow.

The commission is also expected to consider the Green campaign proposal to examine a “living wage” that would be set to cover basic living expenses for a family of four. That would vary from region to region, depending on housing and other costs that are higher in urban centres.

In August, Bains announced a 50-cent increase to the minimum wage, bringing it to $11.35 an hour, the third highest among Canadian provinces.

It is the same increase that was promised by the former B.C. Liberal government before the 2017 election. The NDP government also kept in place the lower liquor server minimum wage set by the Christy Clark government, and the latest increase brings that to $10.10 an hour.

Just Posted

Saanich police are looking for a man who exposed himself Saturday night

The incident exposure happened at the intersection of Feltham Road and Shelbourne Street

Readers Theatre returns to Victoria’s Emanu-El

Born at Congregation Emanu-El’s 2013 Arts Festival, Bema Productions is back for its fifth season

Victoria-bound plane slides off icy Edmonton runway

Crew, passengers had to disembark via bridge stairs

VIDEO: Hundreds gather in Victoria as part of global Women’s March for equality

‘End Violence Against Women’ march theme for 2019

Victoria’s oldest pipes to be replaced this year

The pipes along Cook Street were installed in 1891 and are made of bricks

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Announcement made Saturday evening from Europe

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

Most Read