Trapped in the wage gap

New data obtained by CCPA-BC from Statistics Canada reveals that one third of BC’s paid employees earn less than the living wage in their community—more than 740,000 people. Over 400,000 people earn less than $20 per hour, a wage lower than the lowest living wage calculated in the province. Even with the minimum wage increase, far too many workers will remain trapped in the low wage gap, earning less than it costs to live in our province. These workers face impossible choices—buy groceries or heat the house, keep up with bills or pay the rent on time. The result can be spiraling debt, constant anxiety and long-term health problems. It often means working long hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, just to pay for necessities.

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Two workers, suspended in harnesses, paint an exterior wall of a building.

But is it a good job? Understanding precarity in BC

The pilot BC Precarity Survey aimed to address the lack of data on precarious work in British Columbia. The survey, completed by over 3,000 workers aged 25 to 65 in late 2019, provided a snapshot of the provincial labour market just before the COVID-19 pandemic. The study measured precarious employment in two different ways: standard versus non-standard employment and the Employment Precarity Index.
The results showed that 37% of the survey respondents had Precarious jobs, and the burden of precarity fell more heavily on racialized and immigrant communities, Indigenous peoples, women, and lower-income groups.

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Worker holding up a sign that says "Closed due to Coronavirus."

Inequality, employment and COVID-19

This report examines the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the BC job market and on different groups of workers a year into the pandemic. It reviews key economic and employment trends to track how the COVID-19 recession unfolded in BC and looks at how different sectors, communities and workers have been impacted.

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