BC Federation of Labour

bcfed.ca

Vancouver – The BC Federation of Labour is excited to participate in the round of consultations that start today regarding lifting the minimum wage in BC to $15/hour.

“We launched the Fight for $15 campaign three years ago, and we are eager to see a $15/hour minimum wage implemented,” said Irene Lanzinger, President of the BC Federation of Labour.

The Commission is holding public hearings in eight communities around the province, and is also accepting online submissions. The first hearing is today in Abbottsford.

“We are encouraging people to take this opportunity to have their say on this critical issue. Low-wage earners are living below the poverty line at a time when we are facing an affordability crisis around the province,” said Lanzinger. “We must move swiftly to a $15/hour minimum wage and eliminate all exemptions, like the liquor server wage.

“The longer we wait the further behind workers and their families fall.”

Irene Lanzinger will present the BC Federation of Labour’s submission to the Fair Wages Commission at the Vancouver hearing on November 23, 2017.

For more information or to email your story to the Fair Wages Commission, visit www.fightfor15bc.ca.

Author: kmcgrath
Posted: November 16, 2017, 9:02 pm

It is our hope that the BC Human Rights Commission will serve as a permanent institution safe- guarding the rights of BC’s residents and communities, while setting the bar on human rights edu- cation higher than it has ever been in this province.

Author: jmatten
Posted: November 15, 2017, 5:52 pm
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A full-day of education, debate and discussion on the issues and challenges facing pension leadership, occupational pension funds and investment.

Author: jmatten
Posted: November 1, 2017, 7:12 pm

Vancouver – The following is a statement from Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Federation of Labour, regarding the workplace death of 3 workers in Fernie:

“Today our thoughts are with the families, friends and community of the three workers who were killed yesterday while working at an ice rink in Fernie.

While information is still being gathered on what happened, it is my expectation that the Workers’ Compensation Board will spare no resource in carrying out a comprehensive investigation to determine the cause of the leak and why safety measures did not prevent these fatalities. We expect the RCMP to perform a thorough investigation to determine whether criminal negligence was a factor in this tragedy.

In our view, every workplace accident and death is preventable.

The health and safety of workers must be paramount at every workplace. And if health and safety regulatory requirements are ignored or poorly implemented, there must be serious, even criminal, consequences.

Further, the WCB must increase their enforcement of workplace health and safety protections and training for workers and employers. Prevention is the only way to end workplace injuries and fatalities.

We look forward to working with the government and the Workers’ Compensation Board to improve workplace health and safety to ensure that everyone goes home from work healthy and safe.”

Author: jmatten
Posted: October 18, 2017, 6:06 pm

Budget 2018: Submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services

Through more than a century of political activism, workers have won many important legislative rights, including the legal right to form and join a union; the right to bargain collectively; employment standards that govern hours of work, working conditions and a minimum wage; and laws to protect workers’ compensation, health and safety.

Unfortunately, many of these gains have been eroded over the last 16 years.

Deep cuts to public services like health care and education, deregulation and privatization, and economic and social policies that foster a low-wage economy have left many workers in precarious situations. The legacy of the former BC Liberal government is one of poverty and income inequality.

With a change in government comes the opportunity to turn the trend around, and to finally put people at the centre of government priorities.

The recommendations put forward in this submission are in that spirit: the spirit of investing in people, and respect for those who build our province, who deliver vital public services, and who keep our economy moving.

For our submission, we focus on reinstating basic protections and rights for working people. We call on the BC government to champion a budget that will ensure working people are treated fairly and given the opportunities to succeed.

To begin this important work, the BC Federation of Labour has outlined four areas that need appropriate funding or service review to once again serve the people of BC. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but instead highlights some fundamental deficiencies in our systems that disadvantage working people and ultimately hurt our economy.

These four areas include: Labour Code; Employment Standards; Apprenticeship and Training; and Green Jobs.

Read the full report.

Author: kmcgrath
Posted: October 16, 2017, 6:07 pm

Vancouver – The BC Federation of Labour welcomes today’s announcement on the Fair Wages Commission and looks forward to taking part in the consultation process.

“We are eager to get this process started,” said Irene Lanzinger, President of the BC Federation of Labour. “We welcome the news that the Commission has been established and is ready to get to work.

“It is no secret that the BCFED is pushing the government to implement a $15 an hour minimum wage. We strongly believe that people working full-time should not find themselves living below the poverty line,” said Lanzinger. “I am pleased that we finally have a provincial government that agrees with this basic principle.”

The BC Federation of Labour’s Fight for $15 campaign calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage for all employees, no exceptions.

Lanzinger said that the BCFED’s proposal to the Commission will include the elimination of the server wage, which is currently $10.10 an hour, and the elimination of piece rate for farmworkers. Further, it will advocate for an aggressive timeline to reach $15 an hour.

“The longer we wait to get to $15 an hour the further behind low-wage workers fall. Not only do we need to raise the wage quickly, but we then need a mechanism to ensure wages keep pace with the cost of living and begin to better reflect a real living wage,” said Lanzinger. “We can’t get to $15 and think our work is done.”

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Author: kmcgrath
Posted: October 5, 2017, 8:27 pm

VANCOUVER – The BC Federation of Labour supports the efforts of the federal government to close tax loopholes that disproportionately benefit wealthy Canadians.

“Tax fairness is a critical issue in Canada,” said Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Federation of Labour. “Current loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Canadians create an unfair system and fuel growing inequality in our country.”

In July, Finance Minister Bill Morneau proposed closing tax loopholes that, among other things, allow wealthy Canadians to pay less in personal taxes by setting up private corporations and “sprinkling” income among low-income family members.

“The programs, services, and public infrastructure that we all depend on every day can only be maintained and enhanced through a fair and progressive taxation system,” said Lanzinger. “Allowing the wealthiest to opt-out of paying their share hurts everyone.

“I am encouraged by these first steps towards tax fairness in Canada.”

The BC Federation of Labour has also joined the Canadian Coalition for Tax Fairness.

The Coalition for Tax Fairness includes organizations from different sectors across the country representing over 4 million Canadians in support of the federal government’s efforts to close unfair tax loopholes.

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Author: jmatten
Posted: September 20, 2017, 7:35 pm

Victoria – Working families will see some relief and new opportunities based on the priorities set by the new NDP government’s budget update, says the BC Federation of Labour.

“Finally we see a government ready to invest in vital public services,” said BCFED President Irene Lanzinger. “After 16 years of underfunding and neglect, this budget takes the first steps to address the affordability crisis and support working families.”

“It’s a big job to fix the mess created by the BC Liberals, and this budget is a good start.”

Lanzinger said she is pleased that the NDP government is following through with budget update funding for key election commitments, including:
• almost $500 million for a $100 per month increase in social assistance rates;
• funding to restore free Adult Basic Education and English as an Additional Language training to help British Columbians develop job skills;
• increasing taxes for high income earners and corporations; and
• maintaining the previous government’s undertaking to help the resource sector maintain jobs by phasing out the PST on electricity.

Part of the BCFED’s ongoing Fight for $15 minimum wage campaign is the call for a poverty reduction strategy. And Lanzinger says she’s pleased to see a number of spending commitments that underpin a poverty reduction plan reflected in the budget.

“In a province as wealthy as BC, our poverty levels are unacceptable. We’ve been calling on government for years to establish a poverty reduction plan. Many of the initiatives proposed today by the new government—including the Fair Wages Commission—will help advance this important work,” said Lanzinger.

On the employment front, Lanzinger says a three-year commitment of $15 billion in capital funding to build schools, health facilities, housing and transit will create good-paying construction jobs and build much needed infrastructure.

“There are many areas that need attention if the government is really going to support working families, but this budget update is a step in the right direction to address affordability, create jobs and build an economy that works for everyone,” said Lanzinger.

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Author: kmcgrath
Posted: September 11, 2017, 9:49 pm

Vancouver – Today’s Speech from the Throne highlights a new commitment to put people at the centre of government priorities, say BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger.

“For 16 years under the BC Liberals people have been left behind by a government who put their wealthy donors ahead of the everyday needs of working people and families,” said Lanzinger. “Finally, today we see a government putting people first. We are encouraged by these first steps to address some critical challenges facing British Columbians.”

“Lifting welfare rates, eliminating fees for ABE and ESL, free tuition for kids in care attending a post-secondary institution, and creating a poverty reduction strategy – these are actions that are long overdue.”

The Throne Speech also referenced the establishment of a Fair Wages Commission.

The BC NDP had campaigned on a 2021 deadline to reach a $15/hour minimum wage, but recently announced that the deadline has been removed and the Fair Wages Commission will determine the implementation timeline.

“We have long advocated for a $15/hour minimum wage in BC. Our lowest-paid workers are living below the poverty line, and it is our position that we need to reach $15/hour as quickly as possible,” said Lanzinger. “We will take the opportunity to aggressively push for a faster implementation.”

“Seattle has already implemented a $15/hour minimum wage. Alberta will get there by 2018 and Ontario shortly after in 2019. British Columbians should not have to wait, especially when we have the highest cost of living in the country.”

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Author: kmcgrath
Posted: September 8, 2017, 10:13 pm

Vancouver-The BC Federation of Labour commends the new provincial government on the re-establishment of the BC Human Rights Commission.

For fifteen years, BC has been without a Human Rights Commission, which plays an important role in ensuring that women, persons of colour, LGBTQ persons, people with disabilities, youth and Indigenous persons are treated fairly.

“The BC Federation of Labour believes strongly that human rights are workers’ rights, and that systemic discrimination of marginalized workers needs to be addressed at the highest level,” stated Irene Lanzinger, President of the BC Federation of Labour. “The BC Human Rights Commission can help to address this discrimination.”

The BCFED remains dedicated to educating the public and union members on this issue. We look forward to working with the BC Human Rights Commission and assisting in any way we can to end systemic discrimination of vulnerable workers in this province.

Author: kmcgrath
Posted: August 4, 2017, 9:59 pm