The current programs perpetuate poverty, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The purpose of a social safety net is to lift people out of poverty by providing certainty, security, and the means to save and plan for the future. We need a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy that includes expanding the rules around paid leave, raising disability rates, enacting pay equity legislation, and providing everyone with a livable wage.
The BC Greens' plan for Income Security & Equity
BC is one of few provinces without pay equity legislation, resulting in one of the widest gender pay gaps. The Pay Transparency Act represents a missed opportunity to adequately address the inequity and discrimination women and gender-diverse people face at work. We need amendments to the Act that makes pay equity a responsibility of the director, and makes the legislation more robust.
Fair Wage Commissions recommend consistent and predictable minimum wage increases with reduced political interference. Given British Columbia's highest cost of living and wealth inequality, establishing a permanent Fair Wages Commission is crucial to ensure everyone can meet their basic needs and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
BC offers only five days of paid sick leave that are only accessible after 90 days of employment and can not be used to care for family. This model does not contribute to greater equity or economic stability. This province needs a paid sick leave program that covers dependents and that is accessible to workers regardless of employment duration.
Persons with disabilities (PWD) are estimated to experience poverty at twice the rate of those without disabilities. In BC, the annual disability rate for a single person is roughly $16,300, which is significantly below the poverty line of approximately $26,000. This is unacceptable. We must raise the disability allowance to a liveable rate so that PWD can live with dignity and independence.