The minimum wage in British Columbia is presently $14.60 per hour, which falls far below the amount that would ensure full-time work pays enough to cover living expenses. In June 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $15.20 per hour, but there are no further plans to increase it again after this date. The Living Wage for Families campaign has calculated that the living wage in Metro Vancouver is $19.50 per hour. Neither the current minimum wage of $14.60, or the planned 2021 increase to $15.20, are close to this enough for workers to get by.
While the minimum wage was once intended to be a legislated amount that would ensure every worker could cover their living expenses, it has not kept up with inflation or the rising costs of living, especially housing. Many students can relate to the struggle of trying to balance the high costs of being a student — rising tuition fees, high rents in the lower mainland, and rising food costs — with their limited means of generating income on part-time hours and a low minimum wage.
Many students work for minimum wage jobs that don’t pay enough to cover basic costs. Now more than ever, students are finding themselves on the frontlines of precarious employment situations with little compensation, and an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure.
The Capilano Students’ Union is calling on the provincial government to implement a living wage for every community in British Columbia, recognizing that the cost of living is different depending where one lives in the province.