Established in October 2017, the Fair Wages Commission was assigned three main tasks:
Task 1 – Develop recommendations for a path forward to raise the minimum wage to $15-an-hour, as well as a process for how the minimum wage should be regularly reviewed and increased once $15-an-hour is achieved.
The Commission’s consultations occurred in November and December 2017. The first report was delivered to the Minister of Labour in early 2018 with recommendations about the timing of increases for the general minimum wage.
Read the report with recommendations.
Task 2 – Consider and make recommendations about other wage rates under the Employment Standards Regulation, for agricultural workers, liquor servers, live-in home support workers, resident caretakers, and live-in camp leaders.
The Commission’s second report was delivered in April 2018 with recommendations on wage increases for alternate minimum wage earners.
Following the commission’s second report, UBC agriculture economist Dr. Karen Taylor undertook a study on B.C.’s piece-rate system. Read Dr. Taylor’s Piece Rate Study: exploring the economic impact of the piece rate system in British Columbia.
Task 3 – Advise the government on ways to address the discrepancy between the minimum wage and a living wage in our province.
The Commission’s third report was delivered in April 2023.
It provided a comprehensive review of living wages in B.C., analyzed factors affecting a living wage in different communities and jurisdictions in the province and elsewhere, and described the challenges and opportunities of moving towards living wages.
The report concluded that government-wide measures – such as reduced childcare costs, minimum wage increases, increased housing, hydro and ICBC rate reductions, eliminating Medical Services Plan premiums, addressing food insecurity, and other social policies – are the key factors helping to moderate the gap between minimum and living wages in B.C.
The report also noted the important role employers can play by voluntarily paying a living wage.
The Fair Wages Commission’s work is now complete.