Time to increase minimum wage

For the sake of at-­risk B.C. youth, it’s time to change the amount of change in B.C. pockets

To the editor;

It’s no secret that B.C. is one of the most beautiful regions in all of Canada. However, along with the scenery, comes a high cost of living for B.C. citizens. While these high living costs can mean first-­rate living standards for many British Columbians, they do not bode well for the many at-­risk children and youth of B.C..

According to the First Call B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, 18.6 percent of children in B.C. live in poverty (First Call B.C., 2014). How can this possibly be the accepted reality in a developed country such as Canada? In my mind, the best way for the B.C. government to spring B.C. kids out of poverty is to raise their parents/guardians out of poverty. The most effective way to do this is by increasing the minimum wage.

Why does the minimum wage need to be increased?

According to livingwageforfamilies.ca, in B.C. in 2015, the earnings of a single parent caring for one child, working full-­time over a full year, at $10.25 minimum wage, total $8000 dollars below the poverty line annually (Living Wage for Families, 2015). Due to this reality, many minimum wage earners in B.C. are forced to make difficult choices between things such as paying rent, heating the house, or feeding the children. No child should go to school hungry because his or her parents cannot afford to feed him.

My mother, Jodie Haberstock, has taught at W.L. Seaton Secondary for the past four months and has witnessed the breakfast program that is being provided to teens who come to school without having had a breakfast. She pointed out that similar lunch programs are put on by the nearby Faith Baptist Church to provide students with a mid-­day meal opportunity as well (Haberstock, 2015). These are just two of many similar programs being operated around B.C. that work to provide students with food that they might not otherwise receive due to the financial status of their families. While these are honourable programs, they highlight an obvious poverty issue that the B.C. government needs to be addressing.

First Call B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition supports the idea that a $15 dollar per hour minimum wage would be necessary to spring B.C.’s at-­risk families and youth out of poverty (First Call B.C., 2015).

By the current numbers, about 20 per cent of the B.C. population is under the age of 19 (Wikipedia, 2014) and 18.6 per cent of these children are living in poverty (First Call B.C., 2015). Of B.C.’s total population, a staggering four per cent is made up of children and teens who are living in poverty!

Increasing the minimum wage for these at-­risk teens and their parents or guardians would bring about the change required to lift many B.C. kids out of poverty.

In 2014, the president of the B.C. Federation of Labour said that, “$13 represents the poverty line and we believe that no government should tolerate a wage in British Columbia that, when you go to work full-­time, you’re not at the poverty line” (CTV News, 2015).

While increases in minimum wage are often feared because they tend to bring about a rise of prices in the market (inflation), this is not always the case. Inflation, in reality, can be caused by any increase in production cost. While an increase in minimum wage would constitute this, it is only one of many factors that could have the same effect.

These factors range from the law of supply and demand to governmental tax changes. While these changes do cause small degrees of inflation, they happen regularly without any astronomical effect on the consumer. Raising minimum wage would likely have a similarly small effect (Dollars and Sense, 2015).

So, what is B.C. afraid of?

As it stands right now, the B.C. government has plans to increase minimum wage by 20 cents in September (the Globe and Mail). While this is a step in the right direction, this increase falls critically short of the increase that is necessary to help at-­risk B.C. families and kids rise out of poverty.

It is imperative that the government raise minimum wage to at least $13/hour so that earners can stay marginally above the poverty line and provide adequately for their children.

For the sake of at-­risk B.C. youth, it’s time to change the amount of change in the pockets of British Columbians.

Caleb Haberstock

Vernon, B.C.

 

Just Posted

Local RCMP recover stolen rifles from a property north of Barriere

Anyone wishing to make claim to the firearms should contact detachment

RCMP report theft from industrial vehicle parked in Barriere

On Dec. 7, Barriere RCMP received a report of a theft from… Continue reading

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Barriere family airlifted to Vancouver due to carbon monoxide exposure

All members were in stable condition before being transported

Barriere man arrested on outstanding warrants

Kamloops and Barriere RCMP report they have been successful in locatingand arresting… Continue reading

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

A vehicle incident has closed Highway 1 in both directions

B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

North Okanagan site of first RCMP naloxone test project

Free kits, training to be provided to high-risk individuals who spend time in cell blocks

1 arrested after bizarre incident at U.S.-B.C. border involving bags of meth, car crash

Man arrested after ruckus in Sumas and Abbotsford on Thursday night

More B.C. Indigenous students graduating high school: report

70% of Indigenous students graduated, compared to 86% across all B.C. students

Most Read