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

Penticton rally set for Indigenous homicide victims

Rally in support of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine set for Monday at noon at the courthouse

Gold for Apex Freestyle Club skier at B.C. Games

Kelowna’s Jordan MacDonald wins gold in Kamloops at the B.C. Winter Games

Fundraiser for Penticton boy battling cancer

Wills, 7, had surgery to remove tumours in his kidney, but further tumours have been found

Neighbours ‘save the day’ when Jeep starts on fire

Damage could have been much worse if neighbours hadn’t pitched into help with Jeep fire in Keremeos

Snow impacting flights at Kelowna airport

Tough conditions have delayed several flights and cancelled others at the regional airport

What’s happening

Check out what is happening this weekend in the Okanagan-Shuswap.

Canucks fold 5-3 in first ever trip to Vegas

Daniel Sedin had two points as Canucks fall to the Golden Knights Friday night

That’s a wrap: B.C. Games results after Day 1

Vancouver-Coastal Zone 5 is in the lead for medals Friday at the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games

Familiar faces head up library board

The executive of the Okanagan Regional Library board remains the same

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

Most Read