This morning (September 2), B.C. premier John Horgan marked Labour Day with a reminder of the hard-fought gains the movement made in the past and a rundown of work that remains ongoing.
“The rights we enjoy today would not exist without the hard-fought victories of unions,” he said quoted in a media release. “Minimum wage, weekends and holidays, job security, parental leave, vacation and overtime pay, protection from discrimination and harassment, and safety standards, are the result of collective action grounded in the belief that all working people deserve to be treated fairly.”
The most-obvious change to provincial labour conditions in recent years has been a relatively sharp increase of the minimum wage. Horgan emphasized that B.C. is on its way to a $15-an-hour minimum wage. That move was initiated by the former Liberal government and then accelerated by the NDP.
In 2016 and 2017, the Liberals implemented two sizable increases to the minimum wage, raising it from $10.45 to $11.25. From their, they tied it to the consumer-price index, which would have seen the minimum wage rise in regular increments, reaching $15 an hour in 2032.
As of June 2019, the minimum wage in B.C. is $13.85.
In today’s Labour Day release, Horgan said, “We still have much more to do,” but highlighted a number of additional policies the NDP has implemented to regulate and improve labour practices in B.C.
"This year, we made amendments to the Employments Standards Act that raise the working age for children, make sure people are paid the wages they are owed, and provide job protection for people dealing with domestic or sexual violence, or caring for the critically ill,” he said.
Horgan concluded with a reference to the province’s overdose crisis and the burden it has placed on first responders.
"We are providing more support for first responders who serve British Columbians and risk their personal safety in emergency situations,” he said. “We have made presumptive coverage available to workers who experience trauma on the job and are at more risk of developing mental illnesses, like firefighters, police officers, paramedics, nurses, emergency dispatchers and publicly funded health-care aides.”